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They will gladly pay you Tuesday . . .

Illinois now giving lottery winners IOUs

By --September 1, 2015

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This is perfect in so many ways. People seek free money from people who promise free money in exchange for votes. They get the votes. But when it comes to doling out the free money, well, they’re a little short of money and they have a little problem passing the budget that would give them the legal authority to distribute it anyway.

But not to worry, Illinois lottery winners! Not for no reason did you put all your hopes for a brighter future on a crapshoot. The State of Illinois has something for you all right. Enjoy your big fat IOU:

Danny Chasteen and his girlfriend, Susan Rick, thought they had gotten their big break last month when Chasteen won $250,000 from the Illinois Lottery. Instead, they got an IOU.

The Chicago Tribune reported that disbursements of Illinois Lottery winnings of more than $25,000 have been halted because the state doesn’t have a budget.

Danny Chasteen, with his winning $250,000 lottery ticket in July. Chasteen said lottery officials told they can’t release the money because state lawmakers haven’t passed a budget.

“For the first time, we were finally gonna get a break,” Rick said. “And now the Illinois Lottery has kind of messed everything up.”

Under state law, checks for such winnings must be cut by the state comptroller’s office and, since lawmakers have yet to approve a budget, the office cannot release those funds, the newspaper said.

Illinois fiscal follies

About Ms. Rick’s assertion that “for the first time, we were finally gonna get a break,” if I may be so bold as to say this: Ma’am, you make your own breaks in life. If you think hoping for an improbable moment of luck is what constitutes getting a break, then it’s no wonder you haven’t had any others up to now, and you shouldn’t expect this one to make any real, lasting difference in your life. Develop a smart plan to better your situation, work the plan and take ownership of what happens to you

Now, about the Illinois fiscal follies, this is only going to get worse, friends. Not only is Illinois a high-tax-and-even-higher-spending state, but its public employee pension obligations are completely unmanagable and the state is headed for either a default, a bankruptcy for a desperate plea for some sort of bailout. The slow budgeting process is part of the problem here too. It’s not only lack of money. But it’s not that hard to pass a budget when you know what you have to spend and you’re willing to stick to it. Here in Michigan, Gov. Rick Snyder and the Republican legislature regularly pass budgets not just months ahead of time, but years ahead of time. Why can’t they do that in Illinois? Because Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner is trying to bring fiscal sanity to the state and the Democrat legislature is resisting with all its might.

Don’t be surprised if soon it’s a lot more people than just lottery winners who are getting IOUs. And don’t be surprised if some of them never collect.

Dan Calabrese -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Dan Calabrese’s column is distributed by, which can be found at

A new edition of Dan’s book “Powers and Principalities” is now available in hard copy and e-book editions. Follow all of Dan’s work, including his series of Christian spiritual warfare novels, by liking his page on Facebook.

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