Hoping to salvage some of his business-friendly agenda, Gov. Bruce Rauner said he wants to strike a deal with Democrats on issues like a property tax freeze and workers compensation reform by a midnight Sunday deadline.
With the clock ticking toward the legislature’s Sunday adjournment, the Republican governor said Democrats who control the General Assembly must act on those issues before he will sign off on a tax hike to balance a budget that is at least $3 billion out of whack.
“We can’t just raise taxes,” Rauner said. “If they really are sincere about making significant reforms, we’ll know by Sunday night. We’ll either have a deal Sunday night or we won’t.”
Over the past month, Democrats have voted down pieces of the governor’s pro-business proposals, saying they would gut labor unions and hurt the middle class. During a 15-minute chat with reporters at the Executive Mansion on Friday, Rauner said he has pared down his once expansive “Turnaround Agenda” in order to forge a compromise to keep the state operating.
Democrats and even some Republicans are unsure how much Rauner wants and how far he will go to achieve his short-term and long-term goals.
“Well, the governor…made it clear that he is ready to dig in for the long haul, that he is not going to be, you know, forced into some short-term solution that is not good for the state in the long run. That was made clear,” Senate Republican leader Christine Radogno of Lemont said of the current gridlock.
* The Question: What is the likelihood that House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton will bow to the governor’s demands and work out an agreement with Rauner on his workers’ compensation reforms and property tax freeze by Sunday night? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.