CHICAGO - Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration extend its contract with financial budget consultant Donna Arduin after its Aug. 28 expiration.
The administration initially indicated it was considering an extension. On Friday, Aug. 28 the administration said it had decided against a second extension but would continue to rely on her advice and counsel on budget-related matters.
"As a key leader in the new administration, Donna played an instrumental role in re-establishing sound economic and fiscal principles…throughout state government," budget director Tim Nuding said in a statement. "She helped engineer the elimination of an inherited $1.5 billion budget deficit without a tax increase and produced an on-time budget proposal for the governor to present barely more than one month after taking office. She has been an invaluable advisor to me, and I look forward to her continued advice as we work to reach a pro-growth economic and fiscal agreement for the state."
Arduin began working on budget issues under a non-competitively bid contract struck earlier this year for $120,000 for four months. At the time, Rauner defended the contract saying his new chief financial officer is well worth the expense to help fix the state's fiscal mess.
In June, the administration extended the contract to Aug. 28, or when a new budget was struck, at half her previous compensation level.
The contract with Tallahassee-based Arduin Associates Inc. originally ran from Feb. 2 to May 31. The public notice on the original contract reported that a non-competitive contract was sought because "time is of the essence."
Rauner had previously hired another Arduin firm, Arduin Laffer & Moore Econometrics, to advise his transition team on budget issues. Arduin held top budget and finance positions for Republican state administrations in California, Florida, and New York.
The freshman GOP governor remains locked in a stalemate with the General Assembly's Democratic majority over a fiscal 2016 budget. The new fiscal year began July 1.
Rating agencies and investors are watching as the state's general obligation rating now at the low-single-A level faces further deterioration if the state doesn't make advances in paying down its bills and structurally balancing its books.