Gov. Bruce Rauner is pushing state lawmakers to pass a two-year budget and is considering funding special legislative sessions if a deal is not reached by the end of May.
During a Wednesday trip to a Rockford High School, Rauner said he was hopeful that a “grand compromise” for a 2016 and 2017 state budget could be reached before the legislature adjourns. If not, he said his staff was looking into the possibility of him picking up the tab for additional special sessions.
“If we have to go into special sessions, we’ll deal with that at the time,” Rauner said. “I don’t want taxpayers to be charged for it. I would seriously consider, we’re discussing this within our administration, me paying for it personally, so the taxpayers don’t have to if special sessions have to be called.”
The legislature is scheduled to adjourn on May 31. After that date, a three-fifths supermajority is needed to pass bills.
Nevertheless, Rauner remained confident that lawmakers could reach a deal without having to convene for special sessions.
“What I’m strongly recommending, and I’m hoping we do, is not break ’16 and ’17 apart but come up with a long-term solution and a grand compromise for both ’16 and ’17 simultaneously,” Rauner said.
Rauner previously served as the Chairman of private equity firm GTCR and later as Chairman of R8 Capital Partners, a self-financed venture firm. His wealth is estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
The governor claims that several bipartisan groups are currently working on various deals, including proposals from his pro-business, union-weakening Turnaround Agenda.
The state has been locked in a budget impasse since July of last year. The impasse has hinged on a battle between Rauner and the Democrat-controlled legislature over the governor's beleagured agenda.