As State Budget Sinks, Illinois Democrats Float Bill to Make Obama’s Birthday a State Holiday

REUTERS/Larry Downing
REUTERS/Larry Downing

Illinois still doesn’t have a budget, the state has practically defaulted on millions in payments to service providers, can’t even pay its lottery winners, but state Democrats have introduced a bill that would make Barack Obama’s birthday a “state holiday” — meaning state workers would have yet another paid holiday added to their generous benefits.

State Rep. André Thapedi and three other Chicago Democrats sponsored House Bill 4654 on February 2 aimed at making Obama’s birthday, August 4, a state holiday. The status means state offices and schools would be closed and state employees would get a paid day off.

But even if they got this dubious benefit, state workers are having other problems. Last September, the state stopped paying health care claims on state employee’s self-insured plans. The move affected up to 150,000 state employees and is likely a harbinger of troubles to come.

According to the bill:

The fourth day of August of each year shall be a legal holiday to be known as Barack Obama’s Birthday to be observed as a day on which to hold appropriate exercises in commemoration of our illustrious President. When August fourth shall fall on a Sunday, the following Monday shall be held and considered the holiday.

The bill would only add additional burdens to a state already in “technical default” and would further doom the state with the lowest credit rating of any state in the Union.

Aside from its slowly exploding pension bomb, Illinois shows many signs of self-destruction. Late in 2015, for instance, the state stopped funding for a series of agencies, but did keep funding intact for services to disabled children.

Things are so bad for the Land of Lincoln’s budget that even big lottery winners are being told they won’t get paid. Naturally, the lottery hasn’t been shut down. Winners aren’t getting paid, but the lottery is still selling millions of tickets.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston, or email the author at


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