During the 2014 election for Governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner said over and over again that he would “run Illinois like a business.” In much the same manner that he ran his own businesses was the argument. Governor Rauner has kept his promise, at least with the Illinois Lottery and ticket sales have now dropped to the lowest point yet this year in October. According to the Chicago Sun Times on Thursday, sales for most tickets “declined about $21 million — with October sales at roughly $215 million compared to September’s approximately $236 million. The high was about $260 million in March, according to data obtained in a freedom of information request.” AP said, Powerball sales also plummeted from September’s nearly $15 million in sales to roughly $6.5 million last month, and many players in the Chicago-area can cross the Indiana border to purchase their ticks.
The Illinois State Lottery announced last July that those with lottery winnings of $25,000 or more would experience a delay in the payout of their winnings. The Illinois State Lottery had announced it has dramatically lowered the bar to winners of $600 or more, who will then be issued IOUs. This is all due to the budget impasse in Springfield and dates back to Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of 19 budget bills on June 25, 2015, including the check-writing ability for winning payouts of the Illinois Lottery.
Under a great deal of pressure, according to Rich Miller’s Capitol Fax, the Illinois House approved a bill allowing the Lottery to resume payouts by a big bipartisan majority. But then House Speaker Mike Madigan pulled a switcheroo, refusing to send it to the Senate, in favor of a more comprehensive budget solution instead of these piecemeal solutions.
According to the AP, lottery winners have hired an attorney asking a federal judge to prevent 38 other state lotteries from sending money to the agency. The winners represented by attorney Thomas Zimmerman Jr. in a lawsuit haven’t been paid because of Illinois’ lack of a budget. But the best solution for the Illinois Lottery is by passing a budget.
This is all due to the budget impasse in Springfield and dates back to Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of 19 budget bills on June 25, 2015, including the check-writing ability for winning payouts of the Illinois Lottery.
At the time, The Governor’s Office of Management and Budget said, “this budget is nearly $4 billion out of balance.” Since that June date, Rauner has not sat down with the state legislative leaders to resolve the impasse as the crisis is growing by the day, including state services such as, “After school programs for teens, early childhood intervention, autism assistance, domestic violence shelters and services, funeral and burial services for the poor, and programs to help parents prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome,” according to Emily Miller, policy and advocacy director for the nonprofit group Voices for Illinois Children.
It is not just about the Illinois Lottery, after all. The four legislative leaders and the governor may or may not meet soon. A public meeting on Nov. 18 may “actually move the ball forward and break the months-long governmental impasse,” asks Rich Miller. The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform teamed up with six other political reform groups on an open letter to House Speaker Michael Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton, Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno and House Republican Leader Jim Durkin offering to organize and host a public meeting with them and Gov. Bruce Rauner to break the deadlock that’s left the state operating for almost four months with no budget. All seem mildly interested in meeting, but the agenda and place are still uncertain. Stay tuned.