Within the next few weeks, Illinois will run out of funds to pay the state’s court reporters; however, Gov. Bruce Rauner plans to work alongside lawmakers to find a “responsible solution to the problem,” his spokeswoman said.
According to a July 3 Alton Telegraph report, the state program responsible for paying court reporters’ salaries currently faces a $14.3 million budget deficit for this fiscal year, which ended on June 30.
If the state is unable to pay its court reporters, there will be “havoc” across a legal system that so closely relies on court reporters to transcribe what is said in trials and other proceedings, Lake County Chief Judge John T. Phillips said.
While rookie Republican Gov. Rauner has said he’ll be able to avoid a seemingly imminent government shutdown and continue paying state employees on time, Democrats maintain there are strict rules on what a governor may spend from a budget that hasn’t yet been approved, WHTC reported.
And with employment of court reporters expected to rise another 10% by 2022, it’s clear that Illinois will have to do more than make up for its deficit — it will also need to find the money to pay additional court reporters over the next few years.
If the budget delays continue, Illinois risks damaging its credit rating even more, which is already one of the lowest in the nation.
“I’ve been through overtime sessions before, but this is such a different dynamic,” said Rep. Elaine Nekritz, a Democrat who has been in office since 2003. “We are fighting over things that are not budget related, so I don’t know what breaks that logjam.”
As budget talks persist, it’s looking increasingly likely that partisan squabbles will make it impossible for Illinois to keep paying the salaries of its court reporters.