- Associated Press - Thursday, May 5, 2016

DU QUOIN, Ill. (AP) - With lawmakers deadlocked over the state budget, Du Quoin State Fair officials are directing vendors to a program designed to pay those who weren’t compensated for their 2015 expenses.

Illinois Department of Agriculture officials who run the fair told the (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan (http://bit.ly/24zPVKo ) the Illinois Department of Central Management Services created the Vendor Assistance Program as a way for vendors to be paid without the department having to wait for an appropriation.

“We’re having to be creative, we’re in new territory here,” said Rebecca Clark, the Agriculture Department’s communications manager.

Illinois has been operating without a budget for the current fiscal year since July.

Vendors who participate in the program will receive 90 percent of what they’re owed, with the remaining 10 percent paid once the department receives appropriations. Participants waive their right to interest payments.

The 2015 Du Quoin State Fair had about 105 outstanding invoices totaling more than $257,000, while another $739,000 had already been paid to other vendors, according to data provided by the department.

Clark said she hasn’t been notified of any vendors who don’t plan to return to the fair because of its lack of funds to pay bills. In fact, she said it’s just the opposite, with callers “clamoring” for any new information about this year’s fair and lineup.

For fiscal year 2016, state officials have requested $1.82 million for the fair itself and an additional $3.25 million for the fairgrounds.

This year’s fair will run from Aug. 26 to Sept. 5.

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This story has been corrected to show the Vendor Assistance Program was created by Department of Central Management Services and is not new.

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Information from: Southern Illinoisan, http://www.southernillinoisan.com

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