* Illinois Public Radio…
Gov. Bruce Rauner has been saying he thinks a comprehensive budget deal is “very close.” He points to negotiations in the state Senate, so Brian Mackey asked the Senate president if that’s the case. […]
I asked Senate President John Cullerton, a Democrat, if the governor had been hearing that from him.
“No,” Cullerton said. “But he should come back from wherever he is now, and we’re in session, and we should talk and he could tell me — I’d be happy to know what he’s talking about.”
The governor was actually touring the Beer Nuts factory at about that time…
A self-proclaimed fan of Beer Nuts, Gov. Bruce Rauner took a guided tour of the Bloomington plant on Tuesday, followed by a meeting with employees where he touted the state’s economic potential.
Yep, while women were rallying in Springfield and both chambers were in session, the governor was touting Beer Nuts in Bloomington.
* Anyway, back to Cullerton…
Illinois Senate President John Cullerton says he and his colleagues will take up a partial government spending bill passed by the House earlier this month.
The legislation would release more than 800 million dollars piling up in special state accounts for social service contractors and state universities.
Republicans call it another “stopgap” budget. House Democrats called it a “lifeline.” But Cullerton says neither term is accurate.
“Really it’s important for you to know that I don’t view those as stopgaps or lifelines,” Cullerton said Tuesday. “Those monies are trapped in those funds, and cannot be spent by the governor or anybody else unless we authorize them to spend it.”
“If we don’t pass some authorization to spend those [funds from two state accounts set aside for social service agencies and higher education] the money can’t be used, which is kind of ridiculous when we have so many people who are owed so much money,” Cullerton said. “That’s why we need to authorize the spending of those funds.”
The measure has arrived in the Senate, where there are anticipated changes, which will have to be approved in a committee. But it could be called as soon as this week.
Asked whether the bill to fund social services and public universities removes the pressure to get a full budget, Cullerton said the numbers speak for themselves.
“It doesn’t. We still have the pressure of owing $13 billion and spending $8 billion more than we have coming in,” Cullerton said. “That’s enough pressure.”