Cullerton To Fellow Legislators: 'Do Something To Save Our State'

Feb 6, 2017

The Illinois Senate could begin voting Tuesday on a bipartisan compromise meant to end the state's budget standoff.

On Monday in Chicago, Senate President John Cullerton made the case for the deal, which he's been negotiating with his Republican counterpart, Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno.

The bipartisan Senate plan has something for everyone ... to hate. Business groups don't like the higher income tax rates. Labor doesn't want changes to how workers are compensated for injuries.

Cullerton says that's OK — lobbyists are supposed to represent the interests of their clients.

"But lawmakers," he says, "need to see the big picture, see beyond the special interests, and do something to save our state."

The Illinois Senate is scheduled to be in session three days this week. Cullerton says after Democrats and Republicans discuss the proposals separately behind closed doors, he plans to hold public votes on the package.

It could be a difficult series of votes for some legislators.

Gov. Bruce Rauner and House Speaker Michael Madigan have refused to say whether they support or oppose it.

Illinois has gone 19 months without a full budget. That's led to hundreds of layoffs at state universities and deep cuts in Illinois' social safety net.