By Mark Fitton
Illinois News Network
SPRINGFIELD — The lack of a state budget will soon start to be felt by more people, namely Illinois drivers.
Secretary of State Jesse White on Monday announced his office will stop mailing out registration renewal reminders due to the lack of a state budget.
White said the move will save about $450,000 monthly and prolong by a few months his office’s ability to keep mailing renewal stickers, titles and license plates.
“Without a state budget in place, we are doing what we can to manage so that we may serve the people of Illinois for as long as possible,” White said in a new release.
Last week, White sent a letter to Gov. Bruce Rauner and legislative leaders warning them that the absence of a budget would eventually endanger his ability to keep offering driver services.
And, he told the chief executive and lawmakers, without a budget he cannot indefinitely keep open the Capitol complex, which includes about 20 buildings.
White’s office said the secretary is determined to prioritize cuts as best he can to ensure core services for as long as possible.
“I urge the governor and the Legislature to come together and solve this budget crisis so that my office, and all of state government, can continue providing services to the people of Illinois without interruption,” White said.
What it means for you
- Vehicle owners won’t be getting registration (license sticker or license plate) renewal reminders.
- The Secretary of State’s office asks that owners check their vehicle’s registration and be sure to renew on time so they don’t end up on driving with expired stickers.
- More vehicle owners will have visit the state’s offices to renew their stickers because, without a reminder notice, they will not have a pin number needed to renew online.
- However, people can still sign up for renewal reminders at cyberdriveillinois.com.
The Rauner administration contacted White’s office last week, spokeswoman Lyndsey Walters said in an email.
“We are dealing effectively with similar operational issues at agencies throughout state government and are happy to provide Secretary White with assistance in finding solutions to his office’s challenges,” Walters said.
“We hope he will also join us in encouraging his friends in the Legislature to fulfill their constitutional obligation to pass a truly balanced budget,” she added.
Rikeesha Phelon, spokeswoman for Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, said White’s office “is joining a long line of individuals, organizations and vendors that cannot continue to operate without a fiscal resolution.
“We have reached a point in the fiscal year where the true cost of proceeding without a budget is being revealed. President Cullerton is willing to work through these issues with the Governor and other leaders in whatever forum that works,” Phelon said.
Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont, said the “budget crisis is certainly beginning to affect the people of Illinois in a very real way. We cannot get long term solutions to our financial crisis without fundamental reforms, which the Democrats continue to resist. We remain hopeful they will eventually come to the table.”
Illinois is entering its fourth month of fiscal year 2016 without a budget in place as the first-term Republican governor and legislative Democrats remain at loggerheads.
Rauner-led Republicans argue the Democrats have sent the governor a plan billions heavier in spending than estimated revenue. And Rauner says he won’t agree to revenue increases until he gets what he considers fundamental reforms.
Democrats argue Rauner and GOP legislators have been unwilling to work on the budget with them until the governor gets movement on his agenda items, which Democrats do not support and do not consider directly related to the annual budget.
Rauner answers that his proposals are necessary to improve the state’s economy.
Without a budget, Illinois is spending at a clip that could see expenditures outstrip revenue by $5 billion or more this fiscal year.
The only large piece of the fiscal year 2016 budget made law this spring was the budget for primary and secondary education.
The rest of the spending is largely attributable to continuing appropriations — such as debt service and pension payments — and to spending demanded by consent decrees and court orders.