Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed a motion in St. Clair County Court to block state employees from being paid.
If the judge concurs, the action could effectively shut down state government until a budget is passed by the General Assembly and signed by the governor.
Madigan argues that court orders requiring state employees to continue to be paid their regular wages despite the lack of appropriation due to the budget impasse should stop.
In the filing, first posted to the CapitolFax blog, Madigan argues the order "has removed any imperative for the executive and legislative branches to fulfill their basic constitutional obligations and resolve their budget impasse."
The filing asks for the injunction ordering continued employee pay to end on Feb. 28, giving state employees time to prepare and the politically divided state government a deadline to pass a budget.
A spokeswoman with the governor's office said they are disappointed by Madigan's move given recent movement in the Senate to pass a balanced state budget with element's of the governor's Turnaround Agenda.
"This filing seeks to directly harm thousands of employee families and even more who rely on our dedicated state workers everyday," said spokeswoman Catherine Kelly. "We urge the Attorney General to reconsider this filing and pledge to do all we can to defend employee pay."
Through a spokesman, Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) told the Chicago Sun-Times that Madigan's filing adds a sense of urgency to getting a budget deal done.
The Illinois Republican Party said Madigan is putting the priorities of her father, House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), ahead of the state's. They claim she is attempting to undermine budget negotiations currently moving through the Senate. Statements by House Republican leader Jim Durkin and Senate Republican leader Christine Radogno also questioned the timing.
AFSCME Council 31, the state's largest public employee union, said on Facebook that while they hold Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner responsible for the budget impasse due to his demands for pro-business reforms before signing a budget, they are also "shocked and extremely disappointed" by Madigan's filing.
Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza said in a statement Thursday that while she does not want state employees to go unpaid, she will abide by any court decision. Mendoza said contingency measures for a payroll stoppage are in place, such as paying certain employees partial paychecks and adjusting payroll deductions accordingly.