Illinois budget ills threaten state armored car, garbage pickups

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 25, 2015 4:16 PM

By Dave McKinney

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The newest casualties of Illinois’ long-running budget impasse could be garbage pickup at the state Capitol, lights in state offices and armored truck service that moves large cash shipments out of drivers license facilities, Secretary of State Jesse White warned on Friday.

Feuding between Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and Democrats who control the state Legislature has Illinois nearing its fourth month without a budget. That means an array of government vendors are not getting paid for services they have provided since fiscal 2016 began on July 1.

The impasse stems from the governor’s insistence on tying enactment of a new budget to passage of his framework for business-friendly changes to state workers' compensation, collective bargaining, tort and property tax laws.

Without spending authority, White said his office is facing the prospect of bills no longer being paid. That would affect motorists seeking drivers' services, his office’s computer operations and upkeep of the state’s Capitol complex in Springfield, he said.

“This situation has grown critical, and we are seeking a solution to this problem,” the five-term Democratic secretary of state wrote in a letter to Rauner that was released on Friday.

White said unpaid computer and software contractors have threatened to quit performing maintenance and data-breach protection services on the secretary of state’s sprawling computer network, and some landlords for facilities in which drivers' services offices are based are pursuing default actions against the state for nonpayment of rent.

On another front, the unpaid company that provides armored truck service has threatened to discontinue collecting as much as $100,000 in cash per day from secretary of state facilities, he said.

The secretary of state also cautioned that daily garbage pickup at the state Capitol could be imperiled because the vendor has threatened to discontinue waste collection until getting paid. White said he is concerned electricity, gas and coal supplies also are at risk because of nonpayment of bills.

A Rauner aide said on Friday that the governor’s office reached out to White about his letter and shares concerns about other cash-starved functions within state agencies under the governor’s control.

“We hope (White) will also join us in encouraging his friends in the legislature to fulfill their constitutional obligation to pass a truly balanced budget,” Rauner's spokeswoman, Lyndsey Walters, said.

(This story has been corrected to fix spelling of governor's spokeswoman's first name to Lyndsey from Lindsey in last paragraph)

(Editing by Matthew Lewis)