Price of overcoming impasse mounting

ILLINOIS (WCIA) -- The price-tag is going up. More than 900 construction sites, shut down during the budget impasse, are now back up and running, but the cost to taxpayers for resuming work will be an extra $20 million.

It's a bittersweet return to work for more than 20,000 people who were laid off from their construction jobs while lawmakers clashed over a budget.

"There's plenty of families that do work and try to make ends meet the honest way, but we still catch the short end of the stick."

900 IDOT job sites were shut down June 30 when lawmakers failed to meet the deadline. But, six days of special session and one controversial budget later, it's back to work, but without nearly a week's worth of pay.

"I don't think we should have to suffer but you got to put your shoes on, your big boy shoes."

That's exactly what taxpayers will have to do. During the down-time, IDOT estimates residents racked up a $20 million bill, just to pay for the stopping and restarting of construction projects.

"It's just a waste of money. I mean, you could just continue to work."

"I'm very disappointed."

Labor advocates say the loss in pay is money down the drain which will negatively impact working class families.

"I mean, that $20 million could've gone to new, more construction or something else. When you have family or kids, you need that money. We need that money."

The tax burden doesn't stop there. Labor unions say there's a ripple effect: Many people filed for unemployment while laid off.

Labor advocates say, in the future, lawmakers should consider the full impact of their actions.

Road construction isn't the only thing costing the state. The Illinois Lottery lost about $4 million in revenue.

A percentage of that goes to the state meaning a $1 million hit. Ticket sales resumed immediately following the passage of the budget.


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