Chief judges throughout Illinois are sounding the alarm about the chaos that will ensue if the state doesn’t find more money to pay court reporters. The state fund is expected to be about $14 million short for the current fiscal year, which runs through June. The money could run out at the end of March.
It must be galling to St. Clair Chief Judge John Baricevic and other Democratic judges to know that their brethren in the Statehouse intentionally created this problem when they changed up funding for court reporters. They knew the budget for this fiscal year was about $1.5 billion short, yet they approved it anyway and Gov. Pat Quinn signed it.
State Rep. Terry Link told the Chicago Tribune: “We warned the whole world that we would have a $1.5 billion deficit if income tax was lowered.” But lawmakers aren’t elected to simply point out problems; it’s their job to provide solutions. The supermajority Democrats in Illinois House and Senate have failed repeatedly to do that.
Not only that, but new Gov. Bruce Rauner said in his budget address last week that Quinn directed agencies to not even try to control their costs. Maybe that was to embarrass a new governor, maybe it was to build pressure to pass a tax increase. Whatever the reason, it has complicated an already desperate situation.