Wednesday marks 700 days without a budget in Illinois

Published: May. 30, 2017 at 9:29 PM CDT
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The state of Illinois is now coming up on 700 days without a budget in place.

Businesses that rely on state funding have had to do without during the nearly two-year budget impasse.

Absolutely, Positively, Kids! (APK) Early Learning Academy in Silvis, Ill. is all about preparing kids for a lifetime of learning.

"We're focusing on education any and everything that the parents can't teach the kids at home, in a big atmosphere, learning atmosphere for the kids, they learn it right here at school," Erinn Hartwell, the owner of APK said.

From learning the alphabet to learning how to write, Hartwell says they're open all year for kids 6 weeks to 5 years old.

"They're like sponges, they soak in everything," she said.

Without a state budget, though, she says this could be their last year providing these services.

"Seventy percent of our children are on government assistance," Hartwell said.

That means money generated from those students comes from the state and goes towards APK's operational costs.

"We are basically depending on the state to pay us, to pay our teachers a good salary, pay for our food for these children, pay for the curriculum," Hartwell said.

She says those payments from the state have been delayed, coming in up to three months late at times.

"We are in dire need of a budget, we don't even know when we'll get paid again, we are accepting kids through the state but we never know when we're going to get paid," Hartwell said.

She says if this goes on for much longer, their only option will be to close, as the center is hanging on with money out of her own pocket and outside donations.

"The government, we need their money. that's the only way that we'll be able to function, but if we don't have anything, then we'll have to close down," Hartwell said.

Republican Ill. State Rep. Tony McCombie says she doesn't believe a budget will pass by May 31.

She says a balanced budget needs to pass by July 1 and a stop gap will not fix anything at this point.

"It's not only so much are we going to get a balanced budget, but is it going to be a responsible balanced budget," McCombie said. "The rumors down here [in Springfield] are whether it be a $40 billion budget or it maybe balanced, but it's going to have some serious tax hikes and I don't think that's the way to do this, you can't go through this with just massive tax hikes alone."

In a press release, Ill. State Rep. Mike Halpin said, "As a taxpayer, I want an honest budget that brings an end to [Gov.] Bruce Rauner's unnecessary and destructive impasse, but it's clear that more work needs to be done."

"A line-by-line review of the Senate's budget shows that there is still a lot of work to do before i say this plan is right for the folks in the Quad Cities," Halpin continued.

Wednesday May 31 marks the end of the Illinois' legislative session. McCombie tells KWQC she believes legislators will return to Springfield again in June to potentially come to an agreement.