A partisan fight over the Illinois state budget will result in the closure of the Illinois State Museum on September 30, 2015. Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner (R) and the state legislature have been feuding over how to address a multi-billion dollar budget shortfall. The state has been operating without an adopted budget since July 1.
A legislative panel ruled last month in favor of keeping the museum open, but the decision is non-binding. NSC Alliance had sent testimony in favor of keeping the museum open.
“I certainly would prefer not to have to close the museum, but we’ve got to manage within our means,” Governor Rauner said after the decision was announced. “Right now we don’t have a budget. We’re running short of resources. We’ve got to take management actions to get through the process as best we can.”
The state estimates that the closure of the museum will save $4.8 million annually. All but three of the museum system’s 68 employees will be let go.
Representative Raymond Poe (R-Springfield) expressed concerns about the loss of museum talent. “If those people go to another state or another museum, they’re not going to come back,” Poe said. “I don’t know how you replace that.”