Mixed news on employment, still a long way to go
There was some mixed news from the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) last week when they reported that Illinois’ unemployment rate had fallen below 5% for the first time in ten years. The new Illinois unemployment rate is 4.9%.

Governor begins consolidation of IHPA into IDNR
Governor Rauner issued an executive order earlier this month which would start the process of moving the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (IHPA) into the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). IHPA is responsible for over 50 different historical sites around the state. Some of these sites include the David Davis Mansion in Bloomington, the Governor Small Memorial in Kankakee, Woodford County’s Metamora Courthouse, as well as many other sites related to Abraham Lincoln and important cultural and historical figures throughout Illinois.
Moody’s labels Illinois’ budget situation “unsustainable”
Moody’s Investor Services, the globally-followed credit-rating firm which has downgraded debt securities issued by the state of Illinois and its affiliates in the recent past, has given us another warning.  In the most recent caution issued to Springfield, Moody’s indicated that if the State does not enact a budget by May 31, Illinois will be on a pathway to “unsustainable fiscal challenges.” This is another reason why last week’s “stopgap” budget (instead of a full-year budget) was a bad idea.

More political games on the budget, but no progress
This week we saw a party-line vote on an irresponsible stopgap budget that does nothing to move us closer to a full-year budget agreement. On Thursday, a short-term budget that had not been negotiated by the two parties was rushed to the floor and put up for a vote. House Republicans are willing to work with Democrats to find an agreement on a balanced budget that fixes the long-term problems our state is facing. Instead, this week we saw the exact same political game that was played in 2015 and 2016. It did not help the people of Illinois then, and it will not do so now.