The Illinois State Museum System was shuttered Wednesday as a means to save money as the state grapples with the ongoing budget stalemate. But the move to close the state's museum system will reportedly save the state no more than an estimated $400,000 a year.
That's according to Guerry Suggs, who chairs the Illinois State Museum Board. Since the majority of museum workers are required to work during the closures, Suggs told the Associated Press that the savings from shutting down the facilities to the public are just "peanuts," relative to the state's multi-billion budget gap. Those estimated savings would come from cutting non-unionized museum workers, who make up only a small portion of the staff, Suggs noted.
In addition to closing the five Illinois State Museum sites (located in Springfield, Lockport, Chicago, Dickson Mounds and Rend Lake), the administration also plans to shut down the World Shooting and Recreational Complex in southern Illinois on Wednesday. Illinois would save $6.3 million by implementing the museum and sports-shooting facility closures, the Rauner administration has stated.
"Closing the Illinois State Museum and Sparta Shooting Complex will save Illinois taxpayers millions of dollars," a Rauner spokeswoman told the AP.
Employees at the facilities will continue to report to work during the closures as a result of a lawsuit. The Rauner administration halted the planned layoffs of over 100 unionized Illinois Department of Natural Resources employees last week, including Illinois state museum workers. Two state employee unions sued the state in an effort to block the scheduled layoffs.
The facilities in question "will remain closed while the court case regarding the associated layoffs is arbitrated," according to IDNR.
Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic leaders remain at odds over a state budget for the 2016 fiscal year, which began July 1.