SPRINGFIELD – After a meeting of the state legislature's leadership and the governor Tuesday, both Democrat and Republican leaders emerged with reports that both sides on the budget impasse appear to be loosening, as each voiced a willingness to compromise on FY 2017 state budget negotiations.
Senate President John Cullerton reported that Governor Bruce Rauner confirmed that he's willing to consider revenue increase – an income tax hike – if government reforms from his Turnaround Illinois agenda were on the table.
"I thought it was productive. The main thing I wanted to accomplish was that the Governor said he was in favor of revenue enhancements," Cullerton said. He said the state needed a $4.4 billion tax hike.
House Minority Leader Jim Durkin said he was encouraged that for the first time, Speaker Madigan said he was willing to consider reforms the governor is demanding in a "grand compromise."
"I'm pleased to say after many, many months of objection by the Speaker to discuss any type of reform, the Speaker has indicated he will open negotiations on collective bargaining, local government, pension reform and also workmen's compensation reform. Those are the key to breaking the impasse," Durkin said.
Senate MInority Leader Christine Radogno said she was skeptical that Madigan was sincere in the interest he expressed, saying "He's said that before," and nothing came of the expectations he had raised.
Working groups of the FY 2017 budget are reportedly scheduled to meet immediately to discuss the budget. Two weeks left before the May 31st deadline.
The press conference can be viewed on Blueroomstream.