Brian Mackey

Reporter - Statehouse

Brian Mackey covers state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. He was previously A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.

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The coliseum at the state fair with flags waving above it.
Katherine Johnson / CC BY 2.0 / Flickr

The Illinois State Fair opens in one week. Years of budget cuts and deferred maintenance have led to a series of problems at the fairgrounds. But officials say they’ll be ready.

Pawar, Pritzker and Biss
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

One of the Democrats running for governor of Illinois is proposing a huge expansion in a government healthcare program.

James Kluppelberg
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois is finally making good on some of its most overdue bills — compensating people who were unjustly imprisoned.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner has demanded Democrats send him school funding legislation, threatening to call a special session if they don't. The governor has sought to pit Downstate school school districts — and local legislators — against Chicago Public Schools.

Meanwhile, Rauner continued replacing top staff with people from a libertarian advocacy organization.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner is replacing several top aides with employees of the Illinois Policy Institute, a libertarian-conservative advocacy organization. It comes days after a bipartisan group of legislators ended Illinois' two-year budget impasse by overriding Rauner's veto. 

wikimedia commons

Passing a budget wasn’t the only thing Illinois lawmakers did last week. They also named a major road after former president Barack Obama. 

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

After more than two years, 16 Republicans split from Gov. Bruce Rauner to help Democrats pass a budget for Illinois. It spends less than Illinois has been during the impasse, and raises the individual income tax rate from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent.

What was the breakthrough? Was this really an uprising among rank-and-file legislators? Does Rauner benefit from this outcome? And is the end of Illinois' fiscal problems?

David Harris
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois’ two-year budget impasse is over. The House of Representatives on Thursday overrode the governor's budget veto, giving final approval to a spending plan and tax increase.

Gov. Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois House will meet Thursday to try to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s budget veto.

Illinois Senate
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A day after Gov. Bruce Rauner of Illinois vetoed the state’s first budget plan in two years, the Democrats who control the legislature are plotting when they'll try to override him.

Michael Madigan
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Two bond rating agencies say Illinois is on the right path with the budget plan passed Sunday in the state House of Representatives.

Michael Madigan
Brian Mackeu / NPR Illinois

The Illinois House has approved a 1.2 percentage-point increase in the state income tax.

Last night, more than a dozen Republicans joined the majority Democrats to pass the legislation, despite the objections of Governor Bruce Rauner.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois is beginning a third straight year without a real budget. Legislators say they're close to a deal and continue to negotiate — but is that for real or just for show?

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont announced she's resigning effective Saturday. She instigated the effort at bipartisan compromise that became known as the "grand bargain." Republicans have already selected Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, to succeed her.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois will enter a third straight year without a budget. But lawmakers say they’re getting closer, and will continue to meet this weekend.

Kwame Raoul and Christine Radogno hug
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

As Illinois’ top political leaders struggle to end a two year budget standoff, one of them has announced she’s resigning.

Greg Harris
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Democrats in the Illinois House say they’ll try to pass a state budget Friday. They say their plan is balanced — with spending cuts and tax increases.

After nearly two years without a budget, the state of Illinois and those who depend on it may be running out of time.

Lawmakers are scrambling to approve a new budget before a midnight deadline on Friday but an agreement between Republicans, led by Gov. Bruce Rauner, and the Democratic leaders in the Legislature appears distant.

press room
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Springfield’s top political leaders are continuing to meet in private as the clock runs down on Illinois’ budget year.

Greg Harris
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Democrats took another step in budget negotiations Tuesday, proposing a spending plan for state government.

Michael Madigan
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Democrats and Republicans are continuing to negotiate in Springfield as Illinois is approaching two years without a budget. Both sides are narrowing their focus.

Michael Madigan
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

As Illinois closes in on a second full year without a budget, the top leaders of the General Assembly met Sunday for the first time this year. There are some signs of progress.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois General Assembly returns to Springfield as the clock ticks down to the new fiscal year July 1. Will Illinois begin a third fiscal year without a real budget? Is Gov. Bruce Rauner really interested in "compromise" ? And are Democrats willing to meet his demands?

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois’ top fiscal officer the state budget crisis could soon go from bad to worse.

Jim Durkin
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois General Assembly was back in Springfield Wednesday for the first of 10 special sessions on the budget and other priorities of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Bruce Rauner
Rauner administration / Illinois Office of Information and Communications

Gov. Bruce Rauner is attempting to frame the debate heading into Wednesday's special session of the Illinois General Assembly.

John Cullerton, Bruce Rauner and Michael Madigan
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner has called state legislators back to Springfield this week. He says he wants a budget deal. But Rauner is also spending money attacking Democrats.

Rodney Davis
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Two Illinois Congressmen held a rare bipartisan community meeting Saturday.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democrat, and U.S. Representative Rodney Davis, a Republican, discussed health care policy with the Ministerial Alliance of Springfield.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner has called 10 special sessions on the budget for the final days of the month. For the first time, he's publicly endorsed a specific set of tax increases to accompany the non-budget demands he's been making since he came into office. Does this represent real movement? Or is it just marketing?

Bilandic Building
Google Street View

Illinois’ struggling social-service agencies lost another round in court Thursday. An appellate panel in Chicago says Illinois does not have to pay unless the state has a real budget.

Bruce Rauner
Illinois Office of Communication and Information

Gov. Bruce Rauner has called 10 special sessions of the Illinois General Assembly for the end of the month.

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