Stories from intrepid reporters attending the Illinois Press Foundation Journalism Workshop at Eastern Illinois University
Residents of Illinois are becoming increasingly anxious as they watch the days go by without a budget. After 24 months without a budget, Illinois is in 14.6 billion dollars worth of debt. Charleston residents have begun to see the impact as education and other programs have experienced cuts to funding. This impact puts many residents on edge and causes them to be afraid to discuss the issue because of possible backlash. “Everyone around here has a cautionary feeling,” small business owner Peter Quinn said of Illinois’ nonexistent state budget. The budget’s purpose is to provide funding throughout the state for education and employment, and it designates the rate of income and property taxes. Comparing Illinois to a household, Matt Edwards, Illinois resident, stated that, “In any household, if I don’t have a budget then I’m going to spend [money].” In his opinion, the same reasoning is analogous to the situation in Springfield.