Danny Chasteen of Oglesby, Illinois hit the jackpot in July when he bought a winning instant lottery ticket on his way to work.
But instead of his $250,000 prize, all he’s gotten from the Illinois Lottery so far is an IOU.
When Chasteen tried to collect his winnings last week, he was told that state comptroller Leslie Munger could not release any funds until the state adopts a new budget to replace the one that expired on July 1.
That could take a while.
In May, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed the FY 2016 budget passed by the Democrat-controlled state legislature because it spent $5 billion more than the state expected to receive in revenue.
Illinois is now entering its third month without a budget in place, and the governor and state legislators are still not close to an agreement.
“All winners will be paid in full as soon as the lottery and the Illinois comptroller have the legislative authority to do so,” lottery spokesman Stephen Rossi said, adding that the lottery winners can cash in winning tickets worth $25,000 or less.
But anything over that has to wait until the state gets its act together.
“If we owed the state money, they’d come take it and they don’t care whether we have a roof over our head,” Susan Rick, Chasteen’s girlfriend, told The Chicago Tribune. “Our budget wouldn’t be a factor. You can’t say ‘Can you wait until I get my budget under control’.”