Illinois Struggles To Reach Budget Deal After Nearly 11 Months Without One

May 27, 2016

Illinois' top lawmakers say budget talks are on the verge of collapse with the deadline for next year's budget just four days away.

Credit Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

  Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner called on rank-and-file legislators to pressure Democratic leaders. He said House Speaker Michael Madigan is walking away from negotiations.

But Madigan said the "working groups" of lawmakers trying to hash out an agreement on the governor’s controversial agenda aren’t working.

"The governor continues to fail to persuade in his own working groups, in part because he's introducing new ideas," Madigan said.

Madigan says Democrats passed a plan that won't hold people "hostage" to Rauner's demands to weaken unions. It's the only spending plan alive so far, which passed out of the House earlier this week. Rauner's office has indicated he’ll veto it if it reaches his desk.

Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont, said Democratic leaders in the House and Senate want to wait until after November's elections to work out compromises on Rauner's controversial agenda. Radogno said Democrats are more concerned about politics than the welfare of the state.

"I believe they've purposely slow-walked this to create a crisis," she said. "We've seen this playbook over and over again."

​ Republicans are also at odds with the Democratic Senate President John Cullerton. He says he wants a short-term plan to tide things over, but the governor's office wants an all-or-nothing budget.

 Rauner insisted Friday that he won't back down from pro-business plans.

Legislators said they will continue to meet, formally and in small groups, over the weekend.

The legislative session is set to adjourn Tuesday.​