They came. They met. They'll probably meet again ... to talk about the budget for the fiscal year that is almost halfway over. The meeting between Governor Bruce Rauner and the four top legislative leaders started with a little bit of history -- a live broadcast from the Governor's office. "Illinois is awash in debt -- awash in debt at a time where, Mr. Governor, you have committed to spend over 100% of the amount of money that you estimate will be avaialble for this current budget year," says House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago). "When we say these are not budget issues I'm propposing, I respectfully disagree," says Gov. Bruce Rauner. "They all tie to the budget. If we are not growing our economy...we have too much debt. We have to grow our way out of the debt. And we're not growing."
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With the fiscal year already five months old, House Minority Leader Jim Durkin says it's important to note whose fault this is, in what he calls a "fight for Illinois." "From 2003 to 2015, the Democrats controlled every letter of power in the State of Illinois," says Durkin (R-Western Springs). "Democrats controlled the Governor's office. Democrats controlled the House. Democrats controlled the Senate." Not buying it, Senate president John Cullerton. "I totally disagree with most of what you just said.," says Cullerton (D-Chicago). "It's not helpful in the negotiating process. I can't speak for the last 12 years; I've been Senate president for seven and a half [years]. We've made great progress together." "Our middle class is hurt by policies that drive jobs out of the state," says Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont). "I don't believe this is a union or a non-union issue, or a core belief of a non-core belief issue. It's a middle class issue." The Governor said he was willing to raise revenue. The public part of the meeting did not touch on how.