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WNIJ's summary of news items around our state.

State Budget Gridlock Continues After First Day Of Costly Special Session

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

The special session lasted about seven minutes; Republicans and Democrats then separately went behind closed doors to strategize.

Republicans also reiterated their requirement that passing the governor’s political and economic agenda is a prerequisite to passing a balanced budget. House Republican Leader Jim Durkin:

“It has to be a compromise," he said. "We’ve always said, for the last two years, ‘reforms before revenue.’”

But Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan said the focus should be on Illinois' finances.

“We ought to work on balancing the budget: That means there ought to be cuts and new revenue. I’ve said that for two and a half years,” he said.

It seems the one thing both sides agree on is that neither has changed negotiating positions.

If lawmakers don't reach an agreement by July 1, Illinois will enter a third consecutive year without a budget. There could be major consequences without a budget, including another credit downgrade for the state.

Meanwhile, rough estimates show that it costs nearly $48,000 for one day of legislative special session in Illinois, factoring in travel and per diem payments for lawmakers.

The Secretary of the Senate's office provided a snapshot, accounting for $111 daily per diem and 39 cents per mile for 177 members of the General Assembly.

The total also includes paying staff needed when lawmakers are at the Capitol.

However, the actual cost may be lower. The calculation considers full attendance and several lawmakers were gone Wednesday.  Also, some lawmakers say they are forgoing the per diem payments, including

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin. Legislative officials couldn't immediately say how many were following suit, saying the paperwork could take some time.

  • The Associated Press and Statehouse Reporter Brian Mackey contributed to this report.?
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