SPRINGFIELD — Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White said Monday his office will stop sending motorists reminders in the mail to let them know it’s time to renew their vehicle registration.
In a news release, White said not sending the reminders will save his office about $450,000 per month. That, in turn, will allow White’s office to continue sending renewal stickers, titles and license plates for a few more months before his postage account is used up, according to the news release.
Those reminder notices include a code allowing people to renew their registration online; without them, many people now will have to renew their vehicle registration in person. White’s office noted motorists who have signed up for email reminders will continue to get them. Motorists still can sign up for email reminders at cyberdriveillinois.com.
If his postage account runs out before January, White noted, he will be unable to mail other critical paperwork to Illinois businesses, such as auto dealers’ licenses or incorporation paperwork for other firms.
Gov. Bruce Rauner, a Republican, and the Democrat-controlled Legislature have not agreed on a state budget for the fiscal year which began July 1. While much state money is being spent as required by state law and court orders, without a budget there is no authority to make many other payments.
White sent Rauner a letter last week, warning that the budget standoff could cause major problems at government facilities statewide, including the possibility that the electricity could be shut off at the Capitol.
In the letter, White said many companies have threatened to shut off service — including the company that picks up state Capitol garbage — and end leases at other facilities statewide because of missed payments. In Illinois, the secretary of state oversees driver services, maintains state records and runs security and maintenance at the Capitol.
“Unfortunately, my office is getting to the point where our bills are no longer being paid, and this will directly impact office services to the people,” White wrote in the letter. “The situation has grown critical, and we are seeking a solution to this problem.”
Rauner and White spoke last week, according to both offices.
Rauner spokeswoman Lyndsey Walters said in a Monday statement that there are similar operational issues throughout state government and the governor’s office is willing to help find solutions. She didn’t specify further.
“We hope he will also join us in encouraging his friends in the Legislature to fulfill their constitutional obligation to pass a truly balanced budget,” she said of White.
Overtime legislative sessions on the budget have been ongoing in Springfield with little accomplished. Democrats want the first-term governor to agree to raise taxes to help close a multibillion-dollar deficit, but the governor has said he won’t do so until legislators sign off on pro-business changes he wants.