Illinois Senate approves stop-gap spending measure

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Senate today sent legislation to Gov. Bruce Rauner that frees up billions of dollars for local governments, and the Governor quickly signed the measure.

There was little discussion Monday on the measure before a 53-0 vote in favor of it. Republican Rauner supports the measure — a rare compromise in a year where there’s still no budget agreement six months into the fiscal year.

The thrust of the bill is to release tax revenue on motor fuel, cellphone calls and more for local governments. There’s state funding to help low-income residents pay heating bills and to keep domestic violence shelters open.

The legislation swept through the House last week after Rauner compromised with Democrats. He emphasized that he secured public-safety measures but there’s also money to keep state agencies operating.

Illinois Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger said the legislation will allow her office to swiftly process payments for local governments, 911 emergency phone services, Lottery winners and domestic violence shelters.

Munger noted that payments for local governments, 911 services, and the Lottery can be made swiftly because the necessary dollars are set aside in independent state funds dedicated to those purposes.
However, domestic violence shelter payments come from the state’s General Revenue Fund, which currently has a nearly $7 billion bill backlog. To provide relief to those social service organizations, Munger has directed that domestic violence shelter payments be prioritized and paid upon receipt of a voucher from a state agency.
Munger encouraged shelters and other vendors with payment questions to contact the Budget Hotline she established at 1-855-IL-ASK-US. She applauded the General Assembly and Governor for reaching an agreement on the newly authorized funding, and encouraged all involved to build on that momentum.