Budget expert leaves Illinois without state spending plan

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The contract of a budget expert tapped by Gov. Bruce Rauner is set to expire without a state budget in place.

Donna Arduin will receive an estimated $165,000 for nearly eight months of work. But her contract expires Friday amid a continuing deadlock over the state budget.

However, at the close of business Thursday, Rauner’s administration confirmed that after roughly eight months and about $165,000, Arduin’s contract may be extended again, even as the state is rounding out its second month of the fiscal year with no budget in place.

Rauner has defended his decision to hire Arduin after Democrats argued that her initial contract of $30,000 per month highlights the governor’s practice of paying high salaries to his top aides.

Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly tells The (Decatur) Herald & Review that Arduin aided in crafting the governor’s budget proposal, which was nearly $3 billion out of balance.

Kelly says Arduin also worked across the administration to help the state’s first Republican governor in 12 years get his staff on track.

Arduin also helped train budget office employees and draft budget reforms.