Despite Failure, Cullerton Optimistic About Temporary Budget Deal

Senate President John Cullerton says despite last night's failure to reach a budget agreement he is optimistic there could be a temporary budget deal signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner within a week.

“His optimism comes from legislators saying that schools need to open on time,” said Springfield reporter Amanda Vinicky. “He had come up with the initial suggestion for a temporary budget, so there is an initial agreement between Cullerton and Gov. Bruce Rauner, who said he would go for a budget that carries the state through January.”

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“We couldn’t come to an agreement, so now we have a problem,” Cullerton said Tuesday night. “We’ve run out of money and we need to keep the schools open, the universities open and human service providers like Catholic Charities open.”

“I’m willing to talk about new revenues,” Rauner said Wednesday. “I’m an anti-tax guy, but we have to show that we’re responsible, that we will have balanced budgets and we will get pro-growth reforms.”

A temporary budget is not tied to new revenue or Rauner’s so-called Turnaround agenda, but Vinicky said those items have not gone anywhere. “If anything, Rauner and Republicans amped up the rhetoric against Democrats,” Vinicky said. “That could be something that makes a temporary budget more difficult.”

Vinicky said it was “stunning” to watch the events unfold on Tuesday night as the spring legislative session drew to a close.

As the midnight deadline approached Tuesday, Republicans and some Senate Democrats voted down a budget plan from Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan that would have spent some $7 billion more than the state would bring in.

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats proposed a stand-alone funding bill just for schools, but House Democrats defeated that measure. So, with the prospect of schools being closed and other critical public services being starved of much-needed cash, where do we go from here?

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