Rauner, Senate, Approve Funds For Local Governments

 
Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, speaks to lawmakers while on the Senate floor during session at the Illinois State Capitol Monday, Dec. 7, 2015, in Springfield, Ill. Illinois Senate convenes to address a compromise spending bill

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, speaks to lawmakers while on the Senate floor during session at the Illinois State Capitol Monday, Dec. 7, 2015, in Springfield, Ill. Illinois Senate convenes to address a compromise spending bill approved by the House last week in the midst of an overall budget impasse between Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic leaders

Seth Perlman/Associated Press

Governor Bruce Rauner has signed a partial budget into law, releasing money that thus far has been caught in the political fight between the Republican and legislative Democrats.  The funding will send 9-1-1 fees to the call centers, give municipalities their share of proceeds from video gaming, and allow localities to pay for road salt.

President of the Illinois Municipal League, Brad Cole, says it's lucky that so far it's been a warm winter.

"Now most communities could handle it for a little while, but it is serious business to keep the streets clear," he said.  "And to make sure that the roadways are safe and passable. And as we get deeper into December and January, we just can't do that off of rubbing nickels together."

There was little discussion Monday on the measure before a 53-0 vote in favor of it.  The thrust of the bill is to release tax revenue on motor fuel, cellphone calls and more for local governments.

"This is the bipartisan, negotiated compromise between the General Assembly and the governor's office," said Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park.)

"So merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and to our mayors, good spending," said Senator Matt Murphy (R-Palatine.)

Things aren't merry for everyone, though: public colleges and universities are still waiting for state funding. The state has been without a comprehensive budget since July.

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.

Story source: Illinois Public Radio