Senate President John Cullerton

Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner was a popular target Thursday when Illinois Democratic candidates met in Springfield for an annual political breakfast.

The Democrats are criticizing Rauner for all the things you’d expect: his agenda, the budget stalemate, and his reluctance to talk about President Trump. 

Gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy said both Rauner and Trump were too slow to condemn the violence and political intimidation last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton says he will send the governor a bill today that overhauls the way the state distributes money to schools.

The new state budget requires that such a bill become law in order for schools to receive state money.

Gov. Bruce Rauner says he will veto part of it because of the amount of money it gives to the Chicago Public Schools retirement system. Cullerton counters that the bill also would send more money to downstate and suburban teacher pensions, but Rauner doesn’t object to that part.
 

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin says Republicans are reviewing a budget proposed by House Democrats but are skeptical.

Durkin told reporters Tuesday evening that the House Democrats' proposal is missing pieces, including the revenue part of it. He says he doesn't trust that it's a balanced budget.

Democrats have made the same claim about Republicans' proposed spending plan. 

Senate Democrats attempted a series of test votes on items in the so-called “grand bargain;” but Republicans refused to go along, saying more negotiation is needed to reach a deal they can support.

Senate President John Cullerton says his Democrats have gone as far as they can go in meeting Gov. Bruce Rauner’s non-budget demands and charged that Rauner and his team “don’t know how to govern.”

The Illinois Senate's leader is promoting legislation he says will protect immigrants from Trump administration actions.

Several immigrant and anti-crime groups and labor unions joined Democratic Senate President John Cullerton of Chicago on Monday to unveil legislation he calls the TRUST act. It would bar law enforcement agencies in Illinois from helping in immigration actions unless federal authorities present a warrant from a judge.

It also would bar federal agents from state-funded schools or health institutions unless they have a court-issued warrant.

State of Illinois

Democrats were angry when most Republicans refused to vote on the "grand bargain" budget deal.

They blamed it on the intervention of Gov. Bruce Rauner, who’s reportedly been meeting with Republicans this week. Rauner says the deal isn’t good enough.

Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, says he’s never been ready to support the grand bargain. But he says both sides are closer than ever — and a little more delay is worth it.

Illinois Senate Passes Leadership Term Limits

Jan 12, 2017

The Illinois Senate voted to limit how long a member can serve as president or minority leader.

 

Effective immediately, anyone in either position is required to step down after 10 years. It’s part of a flurry of proposals from Senate President John Cullerton and Minority Leader Christine Radogno.  She says they're meant to break Illinois’ 18-month budget stalemate.

 

Details of a massive, bipartisan compromise meant to end Illinois' budget stalemate emerged Monday in the Illinois Senate, but the plan has been put on hold.

Top leaders at first seemed eager to push the package through during the lame duck session, but now say they'll wait until new legislators are sworn in on Wednesday.

The Illinois Senate moved legislation to the floor that would address the long-running state budget stalemate.

"Money" By Flickr User Pictures of Money / (CC BY 2.0)

The Illinois government will run out of spending authority in just over a month. 

Leading lawmakers discussed the problem Monday, but even those in the meeting aren’t sure whether progress is being made.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner wants his corporate agenda passed before he'll talk about balancing the budget through taxes and spending cuts.  But Democrats have, until now, stressed the need for a budget to come first.  

Governor Bruce Rauner's Facebook page.

 

Gov. Bruce Rauner was part of an 80-member delegation that traveled to the Vatican.  They witnessed Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich become a cardinal.

Other notable members of the group included Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emaneul.   None of their trips were financed by taxpayers.  

In a Facebook video, Rauner said he had a lot of “interactions” with the delegation.  

Gov. Bruce Rauner and all four leaders of the Illinois General Assembly met Wednesday to discuss pending issues after Democrats weren't able to make a previous meeting.  

Among the conversation topics was the state budget.  The Illinois deficit currently exceeds $10 billion, and a report from the governor's budget office says it could reach $47 billion within five years.  

A stopgap spending plan is in place through December, but Illinois remains without a complete budget.

Democrats say Illinois needs to focus on identifying cuts and hiking taxes.

Illinois Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan is suggesting lawmakers work on another partial budget without any of Gov. Bruce Rauner's demands.

However GOP legislative leaders say they won't agree to another stopgap plan.

Madigan's comments Tuesday indicate the parties remain far apart in discussions about how to end a 16-month budget standoff that has crippled social service programs and higher education institutions.

Rauner wants Democrats to adopt business-friendly, union-weakening legislation as part of a budget agreement.

state of Illinois

  Illinois lawmakers left Springfield a month ago fractured, indignant and without a budget. They'll return this morning for another try at a compromise.

Gov. Bruce Rauner and the legislature's four top leaders met fairly often toward the end of May, when they were supposed to have passed a new state budget.

But the meetings were short, often taking less than an hour. And the leaders comments after were often curt.

Compare that with Tuesday night, when leaders met for three hours.

Illinois Issues: Can't Anybody Play This Game?

Jun 22, 2016

Illinois political leaders’ performance on the budget is reminiscent of the losingest team in modern baseball. 

Commentary — “Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game?” More than half a century ago, the legendary Charles Dillon Stengel voiced that lament out of frustration at the way the 1962 New York Mets he managed were performing on their way to losing a modern-era record 120 games.

End Of Session And No Budget

Jun 1, 2016
Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

  The Illinois General Assembly ended its spring session yesterday  without a budget for the next fiscal year.  

It's a twist on what happened last year... when the state also failed to reach a budget deal.

Tuesday started with Republican Governor Bruce Rauner suggesting a short-term budget deal, which is something he'd rejected just days earlier when suggested by Senate President John Cullerton.  

Cullerton says he's open to that; but there wasn't time to get it done in a single day. 

Illinois Democrats say they will not pass Governor Bruce Rauner's last-minute pitch for a stopgap state budget, at least not Tuesday, the final day of the legislature's regular spring session.

Just days ago, Rauner's office nixed the idea of a temporary budget -- saying it'd kick the can down the road.

Now, he's had a "turnaround." He's pushing a plan to fund schools, finally pay what's owed to cash-starved social service agencies, and generally keep things running through the calendar year.

"20110420-RD-LSC-0369" By Flickr User U.S. Department of Agriculture / (CC X 2.0)

Mixed messages came out of a meeting Tuesday between the Illinois governor and legislative leaders. It was their first meeting in months, even as Illinois is in the midst of an unprecedented budget standoff.

Senate President John Cullerton, a Democrat, left the meeting saying he got what he wanted out of it.

"The main thing I wanted to accomplish was to make sure that in the revenue side ... that the governor was committed to being in favor of some revenue increases, and he said he was," Cullerton said.

State Lawmakers Discuss Rauner's Power Over Pensions

Mar 10, 2016
BRIAN MACKEY / NPR ILLINOIS

Illinois lawmakers are considering whether to let Governor Bruce Rauner reduce or delay pension payments.

The measure would give the governor the power to make unilateral cuts and reallocate money around state government.

Rauner's budget director says the governor would rather get a bipartisan deal -- including pension changes -- instead of going it alone.

Senate President John Cullerton has a pension proposal Rauner supports. But Cullerton says his legislation is not a quick fix for the state's massive pension liability. 

illinois.gov

Springfield may be a desert when it comes to budget deals, but it seemed like there was a small oasis: an agreement between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic Senate President John Cullerton on pensions.

They say Illinois could save a billion dollars a year by forcing teachers and state workers to make a choice. Either retire on a higher pensionable salary, or be allowed to receive compounded cost-of-living bumps upon retirement.

During his budget address last week, though, Rauner signaled impatience:

The top Illinois Senate Democrat says poor school districts aren’t getting their fair share of state money. He says lawmakers shouldn’t approve an education budget until that’s fixed.

Senate President John Cullerton says Illinois shouldn’t send more money to school districts without addressing what he calls the most inequitable system of school finance in the country. He says rich districts get rewarded with more state money and poor districts don’t get their fair share.

WUIS

Illinois is about to enter its fourth month without a budget. One of the state's top Democrats says the problem could be resolved within days, if the governor moved off his insistence that other laws pass first.

The last time Gov. Bruce Rauner and the legislative leaders all got together was when the state had no budget crisis; it was apparently in late May, before the last fiscal year was over.

Amanda Vinicky / WUIS

Illinois Democrats say their party is strong and more energized than ever, thanks to Republican Governor Bruce Rauner.

The day after Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner accused them of holding up progress, hundreds of Democrats packed into a ballroom rose to their feet and clapped when Senate President John Cullerton said this:

"We are willing to work with Gov. Rauner, but we don't work for Gov. Rauner, okay?"

The top Democrat in the Illinois state senate says Governor Bruce Rauner’s latest all-in-one proposal won’t pass.

Governor Rauner wants Democrats to at least hold a vote on his package of policy ideas, which limit collective bargaining and workers compensation:

So he’s put all those ideas in one bill.

But Democratic Senate President John Cullerton says Rauner needs to be practical.

“There’s Republicans who don’t want to vote for those collective bargaining provisions in the Senate,” Cullerton said. “We’ve got two senators who are in union!”

YouTube

There’s still no budget after the Illinois General Assembly’s summer session meeting Tuesday. But Governor Bruce Rauner is trying to reach Illinois voters through their TVs to earn their support for his Turnaround Agenda.

One of Rauner’s ads makes this accusation:

"Mike Madigan and the politicians he controls refuse to change. They're saying 'no' to spending discipline."

House Speaker Mike Madigan had a measured response rather than a heated one to that accusation.

State of Illinois

The Illinois House and Senate will reconvene in Springfield today. The unusual June session comes as majority Democrats and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner continue to clash.

Rauner and House Speaker Michael Madigan say they’ve had “cordial” conversations. But their public statements have a different tone.

“The middle class is suffering under the politics of Speaker Madigan and President Cullerton," Rauner said.

Madigan says he thinks it’s an “example of functioning in the extreme.”

“It doesn’t help the process," Madigan said.