Most state legislators will get their first glimpse today of the Illinois Capitol's latest renovations ... including new custom-made copper-plated doors made infamous by their nearly 700-thousand dollar price tag. As IPR's Amanda Vinicky reports ... less unusual budget matters will be on their agenda this week, as the fall veto session gets underway:
Illinois Democrats passed a more than $35 billion budget in late May, but now they're looking to add onto that to cover some additional expenses.
"Because a budget is just that, it's a spending plan. And so you do the best you can to predict what expenses you're going to have."
That's Rep. Frank Mautino, a Spring Valley Democrat and key budget negotiator.
He says as Illinois begins allowing people to carry guns in public for the first time, the state police need more cash to cover the costs of issuing concealed-carry permits. Mautino also says elementary and high schools need additional money to pay for student assessments and to make up a shortfall in a truancy program. Still under negotiation: if the General Assembly will approve paying back wages owed to AFSCME union members, who won a lawsuit when they weren't paid contractually guaranteed wages years ago. Illinois owes $112 million dollars' worth of those back wages, with 7-percent interest on top of it -- a number that'll grow until legislators agree to pay.
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