Without a Budget, Illinois Spending and Deficit Balloon

(AP) Illinois Republicans and Democrats alike wailed when the Democrat-controlled Legislature approved a state budget last year that was more than $1 billion out of balance. But Illinois is now on course to dig itself a far greater budget hole, through either unwillingness or inability to act on the current fiscal year’s budget. One estimate puts the deficit at $5 billion, thanks to court- and statute-mandated spending already underway at levels both sides say is unsustainable. Lawmakers say they’re not even sure how much money is going out the door. With Illinois already billions in debt, they agree balancing the budget gets tougher with each passing day. Yet they remain split along party lines as to who’s to blame and how to fix it.