Unlucky lottery winner gets IOU from state of Illinois

1 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Illinois Can’t Pay Its Lottery Winners Right Now.

Winning the lottery is typically cause for jubilation. Rick said she also spoke with another lottery official, who tried to reassure her that the couple would get their money as soon as lawmakers pass a budget. Not so for Danny Chasteen — who, instead of a big payoff, got an IOU from the fiscally strapped state of Illinois Chasteen and his girlfriend, Susan Rick, won $250,000 last month in the state lottery but could not claim the prize as legislators had not passed a state budget, according to reports. Rick, 48, and Chasteen, 56, were expecting the money to come this week after he turned in his winning ticket July 20 to the lottery claim center in Rockford. To avoid state government shutting down and to keep Illinois in compliance with federal labor laws, Illinois State Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger sought and received a court order to continue paying state employees.

Bruce Rauner and the Democratic supermajorities that control the General Assembly can get past their differences and agree to a budget for the current fiscal year, which began July 1. “Due to the ongoing budget situation in Springfield, some lottery winner payments have been delayed. For lottery winnings exceeding $25,000, the state comptroller has to process the check, and, with the budget in limbo, those funds cannot be disbursed, the Chicago Tribune reported. “You know what’s funny?

If we owed the state money, they’d come take it, and they don’t care whether we have a roof over our head,” Rick said, according to the Tribune. The state is effectively holding money for its own use and depriving the winners use of that money, and “they know that time is valuable.” The governor’s budget proposal, the now-vetoed plan sent to the governor by legislative Democrats and now the actual spending to meet statutory obligations and satisfy court orders are all billions out of whack, and the red numbers are only growing, Franks said. States that cannot run their financial operations, or cannot fund them, can treat people as they like. “Well they need to get it together!” “You’re messing with all those dreams”. “That’s just not fair”, Rick said.

It’s not the most serious consequence of the state budget crisis by any means, but frustrating for winners who have been handed a great big ceremonial cardboard IOU. The state’s biggest fiscal burden is underfunded retiree benefits, which account for up to 24% of general expenditures, according to Moody’s Investors Service, which rates the state at A3-negative. “Illinois projects its income and other taxes to generate $32 billion this fiscal year, or $5.4 billion less than expenditures without cuts,” Moody’s Vice President Ted Hampton said. “Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York rank [as] the bottom five states, largely owing to low amounts of cash on hand and large debt obligations,” said Eileen Norcross, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center. The state comptroller’s office cuts checks for $25,000 or above, and lottery winners aren’t happy. “I bought the ticket, I should get the money when it’s due to me,” a man who won $250,000 on a scratchoff game told TV station WLS. “I shouldn’t have to wait for some budget to be settled.” Unfortunately, that’s not how bureaucracies work. Due to court orders and state laws, Illinois has been able to make some essential payments during the budget crisis, such as payroll, debt service on bonds, pensions, schools, child and foster care and other items.

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