(CBS) – In Springfield, amid more budget protests, there was a meeting of the men, if not the minds.
Gov. Bruce Rauner and Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan got together for the first time in months, CBS 2 Political Reporter Derrick Blakley reports.
Democrat Madigan says he requested the meeting with the Republican governor.
“Speaker Madigan hinted today he may be willing to enact a truly balanced budget with changes that will help create jobs, properly fund our schools and lower property taxes,” Rauner said in a prepared statement.
Madigan’s statement tellingly said: “I ask the governor to turn his focus to the budget.”
Meaning Madigan wants Rauner to drop his pro-business reforms.
So does Democratic candidate for governor Chris Kennedy.
“If he said there’s no ‘turnaround agenda’ on the table, we could have a budget within a week, and there would be Democratic and Republican support for that budget,” Kennedy said.
Meantime, outside the state capitol faculty and students from around the state rallied to press for a budget and money for student grants.
“There’s only one state worker I want to put out of work and that’s Bruce Rauner,” said another Democratic challenger, J.B. Pritzker.
Is the Rauner-Madigan meeting a sign of a thaw in their months-long political cold war? It’s probably too early to tell.
The end of the legislative session is about one month away, so the clock is definitely ticking on finding some kind of budget solution.
The Rauner statement:
“For the first time in more than two years, Speaker Madigan today hinted that he may be willing to enact a truly balanced budget with changes that will help create jobs, properly fund our schools and lower property taxes. It’s too soon to tell if the Speaker will ultimately agree to follow through, but the governor remains optimistic that all sides can work together to enact a balanced budget with changes that fix our broken system and restore balanced budgets for the long-term through strong economic growth. ”
The Madigan statement:
“I requested a meeting with Governor Rauner to ensure he understood my desire to pass a full-year budget and discuss the urgent need for a resolution to the state budget impasse. Throughout the governor’s time in office, we have agreed to seven compromise budget bills when negotiations are allowed to focus on the budget. Schools, human service providers, rating agencies and thousands of others have asked us to do one thing – pass a budget. I ask the governor to turn his focus to the budget.”