State stiffs families of fallen heroes

ILLINOIS -- Losing a loved one is never easy but, it's even worse when the state can't pay benefits to families which have lost someone in the line of duty.

More than $2 million is owed to families who lost a firefighter or police officer. Since there's no budget, these families continue to lose out.

Ceremonies are held each year to honor those who've passed away while serving to protect our communities.

"I know what they do every day when they report to duty and knowing they might pay the ultimate sacrifice."

Pat Devaney is a firefighter in Champaign and says it's more than disappointing several families are losing more than their loved ones.

"I've been to many firefighter funerals that were killed in the line of duty while trying to protect their community, so a modest benefit like this is just a small token to try and take care of those families in their time of need."

No budget means the Illinois Court of Claims cannot appropriate the $2.1 million owed to those families in the state. It's something the comptroller says she wants to fix, but it's out of her hands.

"Come to find out, the court administrator said there's not an appropriation in which the vouchers can be submitted to the comptroller's office."

The governor and General Assembly do have the power to appropriate the money.

"Propose a balanced budget to take care of these families who've lost a loved one, a husband, a brother, a father. It's just unconscionable."

Governor Rauner's office says this is just one example why lawmakers need to work with one another to proposed a balanced budget. However, Comptroller Mendoza says the governor needs to fulfill his constitutional duty to propose a budget for members to consider.

Some families owed money have not been paid for more than two years.  

The comptroller's office says putting these bills off not only adds insult to the families' injuries, but adds even more to the state's debt. 


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