Illinois careens into financial meltdown – and not even the lottery is safe

CHICAGO (FoxNews.com) - Illinois is grappling with a full-fledged financial crisis and not even the lottery is safe – with Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner warning the state is entering "banana republic" territory.

Facing billions in unpaid bills and pension obligations, the state is hitting a cash crunch that is rare even by Illinois standards.

A top financial official just warned 100 percent of the state's monthly revenue will be eaten up by court-ordered payments. Rauner is calling a special session of the Democrat-led General Assembly in a bid to pass what he hopes will be the first full budget package in almost three years.

And Illinois will – literally – lose the lottery if the budget fails.

The state lotto requires a payment from the legislature each year. The current appropriation expires June 30, meaning no authority to pay prizes. In anticipation of a budget deadlock, the state already is planning to halt Powerball and Mega Millions sales.

“It is disappointing that the legislature’s inability to pass a budget has led to this development and will result in Illinois lottery players being denied the opportunity to play these popular games,” Illinois Lottery Acting Director Greg Smith told Fox News.

“We’re like a banana republic,” Rauner said earlier this month, after the General Assembly failed, yet again, to pass a budget package by the regular session deadline. “We can’t manage our money.”

The governor has called for a special session starting Wednesday. The state so far is operating on a series of stopgap spending packages.

Read the full story on FoxNews.com.

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