The public budget meeting between Gov. Bruce Rauner and the legislative leaders scheduled for today has been pushed back—and likely won’t be so public anymore.
The meeting has been delayed to December 1 so House Speaker Michael Madigan can attend a family funeral.
What was once envisioned as a public meeting, either open to the press or streamed online, is now going to be mostly private. Rauner has suggested he and each of the leaders take 10 minutes on camera to make their case on certain budget issues, and then continue talks behind closed doors.
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Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) seems comfortable with the suggested format.
“I know that most negotiations, on budget negotiations, are done in a private setting where people can compromise, and I think people understand that in general,” Cullerton said.
Cullerton hopes the 10-minute statements don’t affect the negotiations occurring afterwards, saying all involved “shouldn’t become more entrenched.”
As for what these talks may accomplish, Cullerton believes compromises are within reach, pointing out Rauner’s willingness to discuss raising taxes. A final budget agreement, however, will have to wait until the calendar turns to 2016.
“We won’t be voting on anything until next year anyway because it requires a three-fifths vote before January 1st,” Cullerton said. “So this is a good time to start (and) see what happens. It’s the first day of December. We can meet every day in December as far as I’m concerned to get an agreement so we can vote on something right after the 1st of the year.”