leaders' meeting

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.

Illinois State Capitol
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

After taking a break for Thanksgiving, Governor Bruce Rauner and the four legislative leaders are scheduled to meet Monday afternoon, as the second, and final, week of Illinois' annual veto session begins.

The governor and leaders are meeting as Illinois approaches a deadline: When 2016 is over, so is a temporary spending plan.

Rauner continues to prioritize an agenda he says will grow the economy in the long run; Democrats continue to resist those plans.

The State Legislative Leaders Foundation

Illinois lawmakers left Springfield a month ago fractured, indignant and without a budget. They'll return Wednesday for another try at a compromise. With just days left before the new fiscal year starts July 1, there are signs there's reason to be optimistic. 

On Wednesday, tempers at the capitol flared; but Thursday the legislature's top Republicans shifted toward an optimistic stance on the budget situation.

Amanda Vinicky / Michael Madigan

An attempt to reach a deal on Governor Bruce Rauner's pro-business, anti-labor demands isn't working out for House Democrats, who are set to go it alone on a new state budget. That's the takeaway from a meeting between Rauner and the legislative leaders Wednesday morning.

Republicans -- led by Rauner -- say they won't increase taxes to balance the budget until they get fundamental economic changes.

To that end, bipartisan groups of legislators have been meeting in private on the governor's agenda.

Amanda Vinicky

For only the second time this year, Gov. Bruce Rauner and the four legislative leaders are set to meet, Tuesday, in Springfield.  It comes as Illinois' historic budget stalemate yawns into May, with two weeks left in legislators' regular session schedule.

These "leaders' meetings" are private, but NPR Illinois Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky had the chance to get some perspective about where the leaders stood going into the confab. 

Amanda Vinicky

It'll be 2016 before Illinois' top political leaders meet again, as a historic stalemate grinds on. 

Amanda Vinicky

Gov. Bruce Rauner and the legislative leaders went half a year without all getting together, but Thursday they met for the third time in as many weeks ... most of them anyway.  A major player was missing.

The private meeting in the governor's office lasted an hour and 40 minutes.

Senate GOP Leader Christine Radogno described it as a "good" meeting.

"We are still talking about the same issues we've been talking about," she said. "We'll be digging in a little deeper on pensions and workers' comp. We also talked about redistricting reform, term limits."

npr.org

  Even with all of its fiscal troubles Illinois will have to put nearly $8 billion into its retirement systems next year -- that's a quarter of the state's expected revenue. Legislative leaders and the governor may finally be poised to begin talking about how they may be able to reduce costs.