State now facing repossessions and utility shutoffs as budget standoff lingers

SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A trucking company that leases semis to the Illinois Department of Corrections is taking the vehicles back after the state failed to pay its bill because of the ongoing budget dispute between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democrats who control the legislature.

The Larson Group agreed to a six-year contract in 2010 to lease five semi-trucks to the prison agency for $68,000 a year. The vehicles were used by Illinois Correctional Industries, an offshoot that has inmates make a variety of products ranging from food and clothing used in prisons to dishwashing soap and Adirondack chairs sold to outside customers.

While the contract was good for another year, the company decided to walk away after the state racked up what the department says is an outstanding balance of $17,010.30.

The trucks have been parked at a warehouse in the central Illinois town of Lincoln, and the corrections agency is scheduled to turn over the vehicles Thursday, corrections spokeswoman Nicole Wilson said. The agency owns other vehicles that can be used to transport food between prison facilities, she said.

And in the City of Marshall in east central Illinois, come November 9th, if the state’s bills aren’t paid, the city will disconnect the utilities to the IDOT garage, Interstate 70 rest stop, and Lincoln Trail State Park.

IDOT owes the city $11,590 in unpaid bills. The Department of Natural Resources owes just over $2,000.