The governor’s office and legislative leaders are negotiating how to fix Illinois’ immediate budget problems. Gov. Bruce Rauner and his team have accused predecessor Pat Quinn, whom Rauner beat in November, of telling the agencies to spend what they want, and more money would follow.
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Rauner ignored a question about what sort of authority he is seeking. But a top appropriator, State Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago), says it’s extraordinary.
“It’s something that has to be negotiated – not ‘anything goes,’” she said, acknowledging that while the request is extraordinary, so are these times. But “it’s basically taking any legislative notion that the legislature has the ability to appropriate and make funding decisions out of the control hands of the legislature and putting it all in one-person rule here. There’s going to have to be discussion.”
Following last week’s State of the State address, House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) said fund sweeps and other savings could be found to plug a hole more than $1 billion wide.