Illinois’ history museum is latest target in political fight

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A massive mastodon skeleton, thousands of Native American artifacts and a giant shark could be the next casualties in an ugly fight over Illinois’ state budget that has dragged on for months.

The pieces are among millions held by the Illinois State Museum, which Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner is threatening to close. Rauner says the move is needed to reduce Illinois’ expenses as he battles with Democrats who run the Legislature. The state is in the third month of the current fiscal year without a budget.

Payments have already been cut for subsidized child care and in-home care for seniors. Rauner wants legislative approval for a series of pro-business measures, and hopes the cuts increase public pressure on lawmakers to end the budget stalemate.