When Illinois went without a full operating budget for 736 days under former Gov. Bruce Rauner from 2015 to 2017, political commentators struggled with whether to refer to the state’s budget impasse as a government shutdown.
Unlike recent federal government shutdowns in which employees are furloughed from work and national parks are closed, the day-to-day operations of the state’s many governmental functions continued, eliminating sources of political pressure that may have led to a quicker resolution of the budget stalemate.
Much of that was due to “autopilot” spending — pieces of the state’s budget that are either constitutionally mandated or court-ordered to be paid no matter what. llinois’ autopilot spending is on the rise, following the trend of other states examined for the study, according to a report from the Washington, D.C.-based Urban Institute.