Some of the governor’s proposed economic reforms and more than $4 billion in tax increases could be part of a compromise to bring about a state budget for the next fiscal year.
After a rare meeting between Gov. Bruce Rauner and legislative leaders, Senate President John Cullerton said there’s some movement. Cullerton said the governor agreed to more revenue, “not nailing down the actual number, but the concept of a tax increase to balance the budget.”
Cullerton said one working group has proposed $4.4 billion in tax increases but didn’t provide specifics.
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Leading GOP Rep. Jim Durkin said for the first time in a year, Democrats signaled a willingness to address economic reforms.
“Let’s be perfectly clear that we’re not going to have a budget unless there’s meaningful reforms. That is the key,” Durkin said.
Details are expected soon on a working group to hash out reforms to collective bargaining for local governments, workers’ compensation and public employee pensions.
After the meeting, House Speaker Michael Madigan issued a statement saying will assign members to a working group to hammer out details on Rauner’s reform items. However, Madigan said the governor continues to insist on non-budget issues Madigan said will hurt the middle class.
Leading GOP Sen. Christine Radogno said she’s hopeful Democrats are willing to move on the proposed reforms. “I guarantee you the people of this state are not willing to pay more money for the same lousy government they’ve had for the last several years,” she said.
Rauner has been pushing for reforms he says will help attract businesses and grow the economy.
Lawmakers have until May 31 to pass a budget with a simple majority for the next fiscal, which begins July 1.