When a win isn’t a win after all

We’ve spoken several times before about the parlous financial situation in various States, including Illinois.  It looks as if that parlous situation is having wider effects.

After years of struggling financially, Susan Rick thought things were looking up when her boyfriend won $250,000 from the Illinois Lottery last month. She could stop working seven days a week, maybe fix up the house and take a trip to Minnesota to visit her daughter.

But because Illinois lawmakers have not passed a budget, she and her boyfriend, Danny Chasteen, got an IOU from the lottery instead.

. . .

Under state law, the state comptroller must cut the checks for lottery winnings of more than $25,000. And lottery officials said that because lawmakers have yet to pass a budget, the comptroller’s office does not have legal authority to release the funds.

. . .

“The lottery is a state agency like many others, and we’re obviously affected by the budget situation,” Illinois Lottery spokesman Steve Rossi said. “Since the legal authority is not there for the comptroller to disburse payments, those payments are delayed.”

While Rossi said winners will eventually receive their money once a budget is in place, the promise is cold comfort for Rick.

“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. “Our budget wouldn’t be a factor. You can’t say (to the state), ‘Can you wait until I get my budget under control?’ “

There’s more at the link.

The budget impasse in Illinois is because the Democratic Party-controlled legislature wants to continue to borrow billions upon billions of dollars to fund entitlement and social spending, while the Governor wants to curtail borrowing and live within the state’s means.  This is what happens when those priorities collide;  and I’m willing to bet that it won’t be long before the same conflict arises in other States too.  Meanwhile, it sucks to be a big lottery winner there.

(Hey – if the State can pay your winnings with an IOU, why can’t you pay your taxes the same way?  Seems only fair to me . . . )



  1. Illinois is a fine rural socially and fiscally conservative region with a massive cancerous growth on its neck. That growth, aka Chicago and the greater Cook County, with tendrils into Springfield due their population leverage, are the tail that wags the poor beleaguered bulk of the state.
    Used to live there, miss a lot of the rural midwestern community. Don't miss driving on poorly maintained gravel roads so Chicago could build yet another expressway. Don't miss seeing my property taxes, five times what I pay now for an equivalent sized home, leave my county to wend their way to feed the insatiable public systems in that sorry excuse of a city.
    When the Illinois lottery was being sold to the public they made it clear that every penny of profit above what was paid back out in winnings and operations costs would go to the public school systems. And they kept that promise. All the profits do go to Illinois schools, they just cut the share paid from state general funds by an equal amount. So yet another honest political promise that while holding to the letter winds up screwing the citizens.

  2. It's really amazing that they an keep selling tickets since they are currently unable to pay them off. I would think if you or I ran a scheme like that, the state was issue warrants for our arrest on fraud charges.

  3. i have often thought if ny state could set up nyc as a separate political entity, the citizens of the state would be able to breathe a sigh of relief.

    sounds like illinois without chicago could find similar relief.

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