A ray of hope in the darkness of the state budget impasse: Governor Bruce Rauner has signed a measure that frees up nearly $3 billion in funding.
Senate Bill 2039 includes $220 million for local governments, as well as money for video gaming and casino receipts, which are used for general operations, a billion dollars for Illinois Lottery winners, and pass-through dollars for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program funding.
The bill also appropriates money for downstate tourism bureaus, gas tax funds, 911 call centers and community college adult literacy programs.
Republican Deputy Leader Matt Murphy says the measure is evidence that everyone can get on the same page for the general good.
“Let’s hope that this is an example that produces more similar outcomes as we come into 2016. I know I look forward to working with all of you to make that happen as well,” said Murphy. “So, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, and to our mayors, good spending.”
Illinois Municipal League Executive Director Brad Cole says the money comes at crucial time for local governments.
“They have been using their reserves or general fund revenues for expenses so far this fiscal year,” he says.
Cole adds the money is important heading into the winter months and beyond.
“But then, moving into the spring so that street repairs, maintenance and other activity can take place,” says Cole.
The bill passed the Senate unanimously Monday before being quickly signed by the governor. The House and Senate are off until the second week of January.
Information from Illinois News Network used in this story.