For the second year in a row, Illinois entered a new fiscal year without a formal budget in place, as Gov. Rod Blagojevich has yet to act on the $59 billion operating budget sent to him by lawmakers because of a roughly $2 billion shortfall in the spending plan.

The lack of a budget doesn’t shut down government as it does in some other states. But Comptroller Dan Hynes warned in a letter to the governor and lawmakers last week that a budget must be in place by July 10 to ensure that nearly 5,000 employees are paid on time later in the month. Another 8,000 employees would be affected the following week. Without a budget, the state also will fall farther behind on bill payments.

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