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WNIJ's summary of news items around our state.

Rauner, Lawmakers Discuss Reported $7B Deficit During Talks

Flickr user Pictures of Money / "Money" (CC BY 2.0)

Gov. Bruce Rauner and Illinois lawmakers are contemplating dire economic forecasts as they meet in search of a state budget deal.

Legislative leaders met with the governor at the Capitol on Wednesday and discussed numbers released Tuesday by Rauner's budget director.

They include an estimate that the state will be $7 billion in the red by June 30, and that the backlog of unpaid bills will top $13 billion by then.

The Republican governor and Democratic leaders have been unable to agree on a full-year spending plan for nearly two years.

The state is operating with a partial budget that ends next month and lawmakers need to agree to a fiscal blueprint for the spring.

Senate President John Cullerton, a Chicago Democrat, says it's clear spending cuts and taxes are needed.

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