Lawmakers Return To Springfield With Senate Budget Deal In The Works

CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois lawmakers were headed to Springfield on Monday for the final two days of session before a new General Assembly is sworn in, and a possible Senate budget deal could be brought up for a vote.

The state has not had a complete spending plan since 2015, as Democrats and Republicans have not been able to agree on a full year’s budget deal since Gov. Bruce Rauner took office.

For the last several weeks, Illinois Senate leaders have been negotiating a possible compromise to end the logjam, but the big question is whether any deal they might strike could get the support of House Speaker Michael Madigan.

According to published reports, Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) and Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) have been discussing a plan that would include raising the income tax to 4.9 percent, add a new statewide tax on sugary drinks, impose term limits on legislative leaders, freeze property taxes for two years, and make unspecified changes to the worker’s compensation and state employee pension systems.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has said he is not familiar with all of the details of the plan, but has said he’s encouraged that Senate Democrats and Republicans are negotiating in good faith, and that the deal apparently includes parts of his “turnaround agenda” – including term limits, a property tax freeze, and pension and worker’s compensation reforms.

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. In the past, Madigan has opposed linking a budget deal to the governor’s turnaround agenda.

Last week, CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley asked the governor if the longstanding tension between him and Madigan over the budget and his turnaround agenda could lead to failure again.

“Both sides need to want an agreement. So far, the speaker has said, ‘No changes at all. We will not discuss a change, only deficit spending.’ That’s his only interest, forcing a tax hike with no change,” Rauner said.

The governor said he hasn’t had a one-on-one discussion with the speaker since last summer.

Lawmakers will meet for a two-day lame duck session on Monday and Tuesday before the new General Assembly is sworn in on Wednesday.

Bills outlining the Senate’s potential budget deal could be filed Monday morning, but it’s unclear if they will get a vote in either the Senate or House before the end of the current session.

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