* Greg Hinz…
Sources in both parties and both chambers, and a source close to Rauner, all tell me the same thing: Real progress has been made by negotiators from the four caucuses, known as “budgeteers.” That progress has been affirmed by relatively tranquil if incomplete negotiations between the four legislative leaders and Rauner. […]
“We are doing absolutely everything we can to give the governor a reasonable budget that he can sign,” says one Democratic budgeteer. “I’d makes the odds 60-40 this gets done by the end of the month,” says one top Republican.
One factor that ironically may be working in favor of a deal is the latest flap over whether House Speaker Mike Madigan is serious about curbing sexual harassment by his associates and whether he retaliated against a House critic. With even many House Democrats not wanting a repeat of the budget standoffs of earlier years, the desire not to be in Springfield and under a harassment microscope “only increases the pressure on him” to finish up the budget quick.
But sources in both parties say they’re still not completely convinced that Rauner, running for re-election after last year’s budget and tax hike were enacted over his veto, really wants to move on.
One source close to him says he does, but laid down some conditions: The budget has to be balanced, more or less; it can’t include a lot of new spending; and there must be no new taxes in the plan.
* Peoria Journal Star editorial…
A year ago on this date, the Journal Star joined with other Illinois newspapers to publish front-page editorials under the headline “Unacceptable” as our state government approached a third consecutive year without a budget. To give you a taste: “There is nothing wrong with Illinois but its politics … Govern, for a change. Resolve never to return Illinois to this hellish place again.”
Fast-forward 365 days and the contrast could not be more stark, the silence out of Springfield more profound.
“Please take that as a good sign for the moment,” said state Rep. Ryan Spain, sharing a sentiment largely echoed by his Peoria-area colleagues on both sides of the aisle. “Cautiously optimistic,” said Rep. Mike Unes, R-East Peoria, with some identical nods. […]
We’re told that bipartisan, bicameral, orderly and productive meetings have been taking place on a daily basis, outside the media glare. If that’s what it takes to get a budget that is balanced and on time, so be it.
Illinois’ key budget deadline is barely a week away and one of the state’s budget negotiators says he believes lawmakers can break a three-year trend and get a budget done on time.
“I’m very encouraged by where we are at right now,” State Rep. Dan Brady declared. “We’ve got communication going between all the rank-and-file, that’s the budgeteers.
For the first time in years, budget talks are looking up at the Capitol.
The deadline is in just eight days, but those negotiating final details aren’t breaking a sweat. Many say they’re optimistic it will be done in time.
House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R) says communication is much better across the aisle this year. There was some fighting about a revenue estimate a few weeks ago, but he says they made it past that.
Durkin says this time around lawmakers are learning to trust each other. He anticipates a balanced budget, but says they’re still working to get there. He says they’re trying to work about five or six major issues first.