CHICAGO — The city of Chicago's efforts to wrangle an alligator who was found living in a park lagoon this summer cost more than $33,600.
SPRINGFIELD — The terms "Illinois budget" and "extra revenue" are rarely heard in the same sentence. But now that they are, "spending agreement" is the elusive terminology.
MURPHYSBORO — A handful of Illinois state representatives decided to put faces to the budget quagmire emanating from Springfield, from the inability of the legislators and Gov. Bruce Rauner to agree upon a balanced budget.
MURPHYSBORO — Illinois Central's old railroad depot was sold for $1 in 1968, when it was presumed to be a building on its way out. In fact, Murphysboro council members had planned to tear it down and make way for a city parking lot.
When Illinois can't pay its bills in a timely fashion, the interest penalties it's required to add on by law deliver another blow to the cash-strapped state, but they do little to ease the pain of waiting vendors.
SPRINGFIELD - Don't look for quick action to reduce Illinois' huge backlog of unpaid bills, despite universal agreement among state leaders that the debt is unfair to businesses, charities and local governments that provide valuable services.
Restoring the state's reputation as one that makes good on its debt won't be easy, local legislators said, but it can happen.
SPRINGFIELD - If you plan on doing business with the state of Illinois, you'd better learn to beg - preferably to an influential politician.
SPRINGFIELD - The state budget amounts to a bad news, bad news situation for Illinois schools. They're getting less money this year and they'll still have to endure long waits to collect the smaller checks.
Illinois' schools are used to planning ahead when it comes to many things, but in the last few years, financial planning has become more and more difficult as a result of delayed and sporadic payments of state funds.
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HARRISBURG - A general overlay of numbers provided and explained by Southeastern Illinois College Vice President Tim Walker shows the impact of state unpaid bills and state reduced funding at Southern Illinois community colleges.
As the flow of state payments slows to a trickle, those waiting for funds aren't just private vendors - in some instances it's the state waiting to pay itself.
The Illinois Department of Corrections insists its failure to pay its bills on time isn't creating any safety concerns inside state prisons.
SIU Carbondale has been elbows-deep in uncertainty lately and missing about
URBANA - Illinois' nine public universities are owed more than half a billion dollars by the state, part of an ongoing debt that contributes to rising tuition, spending cuts, increasing class sizes on some campuses and a need to carefully manage reserves.
When small businesses are owed big bucks by the state, the effects are not only on the bottom line.
SPRINGFIELD - Ambulance operators, pharmacists, aircraft repairmen, produce providers, funeral home directors, even racing horse owners.
Drowning in deficits, Illinois has turned to a deliberate policy of not paying billions of dollars in bills for months at a time, creating a cycle of hardship and sacrifice for residents and businesses helping the state carry out some of the most important government tasks.
Illinois' precarious financial position is being felt across the state, with about $5 billion in backlogged bills owed to agencies and businesses.