After two years of unpaid bills and dwindling cash reserves, lawmakers in Illinois have finally managed to break a stalemate and reach a long-overdue budget deal — which was promptly vetoed by the governor.

    . . .

    The state hasn't passed a budget in more than two years, accumulating a $15 billion backlog of bills as a bitter political fight played out. As Brian Mackey of Illinois Public Radio reported last week, the crisis has been largely invisible for most state residents, but the state comptroller warned that the crisis could soon affect public schools.

    On Tuesday, lawmakers came to a hard-fought agreement. "Under threat of 'junk bond' status, Democrats finally convinced more than a dozen Republican lawmakers to break with Illinois' Republican governor," Mackey reports.

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