Legislative leaders and Gov. Bruce Rauner have been invited to meet in public to work out a solution to the budget stalemate—and Rauner appears open to the idea.
Groups including the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform (ICPR), the Better Government Association, and the League of Women Voters sent letters to Rauner and the four leaders, offering to host a meeting “to discuss solutions for the current prolonged budget impasse threatening our state.”
House Speaker Michael Madigan took it a step further, not only agreeing to meet, but to hold it in public on November 18th.
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Susan Garrett, a former state legislator who now chairs ICPR's board of directors, doesn’t see any potential pitfalls in letting Illinois residents in on these talks.
“None whatsoever. I strongly believe in transparency,” Garrett said, “and when the state is in the situation they’re in, why shouldn’t the taxpayers have an opportunity to see how the budget negotiations are set up and how they go?”
Garrett feels the state has “nothing to lose” by having Rauner and the leaders discuss their positions in public.
Rauner has responded to the invite with a letter of his own, saying he’s willing to hold the meeting in the governor’s office (not at Chicago’s Union League Club, as Madigan had suggested) which may be “fully open” or streamed online. He hopes the meeting results in an agreement on “a package of structural reforms that can save taxpayers billions alongside a balanced budget.”
Rauner thanks the groups who offered to hold the meeting, but says his office will now take the lead in organizing it.