Rauner Optimistic About Word Of Possible Budget Deal

CHICAGO (CBS) — Gov. Bruce Rauner said Friday he was “heartened” by reports that state Senate leaders have made progress toward a deal to end the state budget stalemate.

According to published reports, Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) and Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) have been negotiating a budget compromise that would include raising the income tax to 4.9 percent, adding a new statewide tax on sugary drinks,

Bills outlining the terms of the budget plan could be filed in Springfield as early as Monday, when lawmakers return to the capitol for a two-day lame duck session before the new General Assembly is sworn in on Wednesday.

Rauner was taking a cautious approach to word of a possible budget compromise.

“I’m not familiar with all the detail. I think they’re still being worked out. I think some legislation is being drafted, but I’m heartened by that. I’m optimistic that Democrats and Republicans are negotiating in good faith to come up with changes to our system, so it’s not broken anymore,” Rauner said.

The governor also said he was encouraged the deal appears to include some reform measures he has sought as part of his “turnaround agenda” in exchange for supporting a tax hike – such as term limits, a property tax freeze, changes to the state’s workers’ compensation system, and changes in state employee pensions.

“Whether it’s regulatory burden on businesses so we can grow jobs, whether it’s property tax relief, whether it’s better school funding, whether it’s pension reform, they’re working on some really important things that can all help us get balanced budgets for the long-term. So I’m optimistic. It’s going to take work, but I’m very supportive of the Democrats and Republicans continuing to negotiate and try to get some solutions,” Rauner said.

House Speaker Michael Madigan reportedly has not been part of the latest negotiations, and it’s unclear if majority House Democrats would support the plan.

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