(CBS) – For the first time since the election, Gov. Bruce Rauner sat down with the legislative leaders, including elusive Democrats, to deal with the state budget crisis.
The meeting only yielded plans for another meeting, along with Republican accusations about a lack of urgency.
CBS 2 Political Reporter Derrick Blakley reports.
Under the capitol dome, the sit-down in the governor’s office lasted just 40 minutes, with Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, announcing he had tapped state Rep. Greg Harris to be his chief negotiator.
That set off Republican leaders, who accused Democrats of stalling.
“That is a sense of running out the clock,” House Minority Leader James Durkin said.
The clock is ticking. Nearly a year and half without a balanced budget, state leaders are feuding while money burns.
“We are the only state in the union that has tried this experiment, to go 15 months without a budget. The cost to our infrastructure, our social services, and everyone else who cares about the state of Illinois is too high,” Laurence Msall of the Civic Federation says.
Republican Rauner has said he’ll only approve needed new taxes if Democrats who control the General Assembly accept some of his pro-business reforms.
Madigan seemed to reject that, indicating it’s the old way or the highway.
“I would strongly recommend that we follow the framework used on seven successive budgets,” he said.
Budget decisions were postponed until after the election. They can’t be postponed again.
“Illinois is getting a reputation as never missing an opportunity to miss the opportunity to address its problems,” Msall says.
The legislative leaders and the governor will reconvene Wednesday, still seeking a pathway to compromise.