CHICAGO - Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has extended fiscal aide Donna Arduin's contract.
The extension comes with the rookie Republican's administration locked in an impasse with the legislature's Democratic majorities over the fiscal 2016 budget .
The contract is being extended but her compensation has been cut in half.
A statement with a series of board and staff appointments on June 5 disclosed that Arduin's contract to serve as the state's chief financial officer would be extended until a new budget is signed into law or until Aug. 28. The new fiscal year begins July 1.
"She will continue working with the Governor's Office of Management and Budget on enacting a balanced budget," the statement said.
Arduin has been 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.
"She's a brilliant lady who's done financial turnarounds at a number of states," Rauner said. The state's top budget official is Tim Nuding, director of the Governor's Office of Management and Budget.
The contract with Tallahassee-based Arduin Associates Inc. 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.
Rauner proposed deep cuts to eliminate a $6 billion deficit in the budget covering the fiscal year that begins July 1, and tied his support for any tax hikes to reduce spending cuts to Democratic support for a scaled-down version of his turnaround agenda. He is seeking a local property tax freeze, caps on civil judgments, worker's compensation reforms and constitutional amendments on term limits and redistricting. Democrats counter that the budget process shouldn't be used as leverage on those policy items.
Democrats ignored the governor's demands and instead passed a $36 billion budget short more than $3 billion on revenue before adjourning May 31. Rancor among Democrats and Rauner grew over the last week as both sides dug in their heels despite pledges of cooperation, raising further questions over whether their political differences can be bridged.