* The Tribune’s headline today is: “Rauner, Madigan talk ‘compromise’ while doing little of it”…
During a special session that’s costing taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars a day without any results, both Democrats and Republicans are talking up the idea of compromise without publicly doing much to reach one. […]
Compromise, then, is proving to be in the eye of the beholder at the Capitol, a rhetorical tool to help sell the idea that the other side is to blame if no budget deal is reached by a Friday deadline.
Despite the fallout that will accompany such a failure, there’s little to indicate a resolution will be reached by then. Rauner sent the loudest signal Wednesday when he said if lawmakers fail 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.”
* AP: “Budget hopes dim as Illinois House property tax freeze fails”…
A property tax freeze critical to ending Illinois’ historic budget jam failed in the House Wednesday and the Republican governor who is demanding the freeze threatened to keep lawmakers in session over the July 4 holiday unless there is an agreement on a spending plan by the end of Friday. […]
But on a 59-46 vote, far short of the three-fifths majority necessary for the measure to take immediate effect, lawmakers’ efforts to avoid the ignominy of starting a third consecutive July 1 without a budget outline were thrown into doubt. Republicans oppose the Democrats’ freeze because it makes significant exceptions for Chicago, its school system and 17 other financially-strapped school districts, and for cities struggling to pay long-term debt and make contributions to police and fire pension accounts. […]
House Republican Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs branded Democratic moves on Wednesday as “political theater.” While the four leaders of the House and Senate met for a second straight day in Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan’s third-floor Capitol office, none emerged to speak to a media throng outside.
But that could signal progress and an unwillingness to publicly criticize one another. Rep. Tom Demmer, a Dixon Republican tasked with pension-fix negotiations, said the House votes on the tangential issues were “premature” and negotiations continue.
John O’Connor is a longtime Statehouse reporter and he picked up on the same thing I did yesterday afternoon. When the leaders meet and then don’t talk to reporters, that’s usually a good sign. But that’s one of the only good signs we had yesterday.
* Sun-Times: “As negotiations drag on, Rauner and Madigan go their own ways”…
Meanwhile, legislative leaders planned to meet again on Thursday morning.
As long as they’re talking, there’s some hope. But talks can also be used as a cover to mask a refusal to actually close a deal. Appear as if you’re making progress, then claim the other side was being unreasonable or hasty or whatever. We saw this happen a bunch in the Senate this year.
* SJ-R: “Rauner threatens to keep lawmakers in Springfield if no budget by Friday”…
Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago, said there was no point in postponing a vote.
“We are at 90 to 95 percent of what the governor asked,” she said. “The idea that we should wait, wait, wait doesn’t make much sense.”
Republicans aired similar complaints about the other bills, that they were the product of Democrats alone and not negotiations between the two parties. They complained the measures were watered down and that negotiations should continue on stronger legislation.
However, Democrats said the time had come to vote with just a couple of days left before the start of a new fiscal year.
So far, it’s almost an exact replay of the Senate at the end of May.
* WTTW: “Rauner Threatens to Prolong Special Session If There’s No Budget by Friday”…
Republican state Rep. Steven Andersson urged lawmakers to pump the brakes on voting for bills currently being negotiated by leadership on both sides of the aisle.
“I’m certainly going to urge every member of my caucus not to vote for these bills,” Andersson said. “Not necessarily because they’re all that bad. Some of them might be there; some of them might be close.
“But if we vote ‘yes’ now, that ends that negotiation. Those negotiations are over because we already agree with you and we’re not quite there yet.”
Both sides are gonna play this game as long as they think they can. The only question is when does it end?
* CBS 2: “Gov. Rauner Threatens To Keep Lawmakers In Springfield, Indefinitely”…
“I don’t know that I’m optimistic. I’m hopeful,” state Sen. Kimberly Lightford, D-Maywood, tells CBS 2 Political Reporter Derrick Blakley.