Rauner: ‘No Choice' But to Keep Lawmakers in Session Until Deal is Done

If Illinois lawmakers don't reach an agreement to end the budget impasse by the June 30 deadline, Gov. Bruce Rauner said Wednesday he will require legislators to stay in Springfield until a deal is made.  

"If the legislature fails to send a balanced budget package to my desk by Friday, we will have no choice but to keep them in session until they get the job done," Rauner said in a statement. 

Wednesday marked the eighth day legislators have reconvened in Springfield for a special session to end the nearly two-yearlong budget impasse between the Republican governor and the Democratic-controlled statehouse. 

Democrats unveiled their proposed compromise on Tuesday, with the end of the fiscal year on Friday. The plan includes higher income and corporate taxes to raise revenue as Illinois’ backlog of overdue bills sits at $15 billion.

As Democrats don’t want to be solely blamed for higher taxes, Madigan predicted his caucus will have 41 votes in favor of the plan, meaning 30 Republicans will be needed to pass the budget. [[430937033, C]]

The plan also contains a four-year property tax freeze, one of Rauner’s key demands, but it exempts 18 school districts on a “watch list,” including Chicago.

If the new fiscal year begins without a budget in place, credit ratings agencies have said they will downgrade Illinois’ rating to "junk” status, and some lottery games will no longer be sold.

Road work across the state will also come to halt, putting 30,000 people out of work. While reports surfaced that discussions are underway to keep some of those projects going, the governor’s office refuted that claim Tuesday, as countless social service agencies across the state have already been waiting for more than two years to be paid. [[430954913, C]]

A patchwork of court orders dictates that the state pay certain suppliers, though Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza has warned that her office is required to pay out more than it receives in revenue each month.

Despite few signs of progress, one Republican spokesman said Wednesday that now "there's a sliver of hope" that a deal may be reached. 

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