Democratic leaders are willing to finish the spring legislative session without a budget but say progress is being made in working groups trying to hash out a grand compromise.
Speaker Michael Madigan said the House of Representatives will meet once a week through the summer after the spring session ends at midnight Tuesday. Madigan said there is some movement with working groups taking up proposed economic reforms and a balanced budget. “They consistently report back to me that they think progress is being made and they want to stay at it.”
Republican House Leader Jim Durkin said he remains hopeful but it’s clear Democratic leaders are pulling back. “Their attitude is to scale back and to move into the summer and to basically hold the taxpayers hostage.”
As for education funding, Republican leaders say an option proposed by the GOP would allow for standalone funding. The spending plan passed by Democrats in the House includes K-12 but it would result in $7 billion in deficit spending.
Senate President John Cullerton said the working groups are seeking revenue to plug the deficit. “One of the working groups is working on that and we haven’t come to an agreement yet and that’s why we want these working groups to continue to work.”
Republican leader Sen. Christine Radogno said Democrats want to only increase taxes. “And they’re willing to sacrifice the state to get that done, which is unfathomable to me that they are willing to have schools not open, universities close, so that they can just wait this governor out.”
The Senate is expected to take up some kind of budget Tuesday, but Cullerton wouldn’t elaborate.