1.7.17

WHEN EVEN THE LOTTERY LOSES CONFIDENCE.

It's possible that the State of Illinois will have a spending plan, a couple of days late, but after two years of improvisation, that looks like a moral victory.  "[L]awmakers have learned that piecemeal solutions freeing up money to avoid pain has helped to allow the stalemate to drag on, and they're reluctant to do so again, at least for now."

"Piecemeal solutions" often means "kicking the can down the road," but ultimately, either the can falls apart or the road ends.  And relying on the courts to allocate the funds, which is what Illinois budget administrators have been doing, only works as long as there are funds.
Lawmakers on both sides spent the end-of-June special session publicly lamenting the destruction that already had been caused by the historic stalemate and declaring it time to bring the impasse to an end.

Still, fundamental disagreements remain. Even as the two sides were publicly professing a desire to compromise, a lack of trust had each privately questioning the others' sincerity in seeking a deal.

Meanwhile, the autopilot spending that allowed state government to chug along through the first two years of stalemate will largely continue as court orders and existing laws provide for continued payment of state employee paychecks, medical bills for the poor, pension contributions, interest on debt and transfers to local governments.
It's summer, and the construction closures on the road are mostly for suspended projects, the schools can hang on until August for their state aid, the universities are beginning to worry about accreditation (there has to be enough money to sustain the deanlets and deanlings whose support services are part of accreditation), and now Power Ball junkies have to cross state lines to throw a few bucks at those big jackpots.

"None of the potential pressure points has proved strong enough to move the needle on a deal so far." Perhaps, what will move the needle, is Cub fans crossing the Cheddar Curtain learning that Counsell's Crushers are hitting Wisconsin Lottery Power Ball Home Runs.

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