Illinois budget crisis closing auto-theft task forces

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Officials with police-run auto-theft task forces say they are shutting down across Illinois due to state spending freezes. Separately, the (Peoria) Journal Star also reports that a bipartisan deal reached in the state Legislature last week will siphon $6 million in auto-theft task force grants to help cover a $1.6 billion hole in the state budget. Local departments pulled task force personnel almost immediately after Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner froze nonessential spending with an executive order in January. Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly says funding for the Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Trust Fund will resume in fiscal year 2016. The budget deal that Rauner signed Thursday combines across-the-board cuts with more than $1 billion in fund transfers to keep the state’s child care and other programs running.