By Derrick Blakley

CHICAGO (CBS) — With six weeks until the state budget deadline, the hard bargaining is under way between Gov. Rauner and Democratic leaders.

The key question is whether another stalemate can be avoided.

As CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports, the four legislative leaders met with Rauner on the budget for 45 minutes on Thursday.

Afterward, Republicans declared the meeting successful.

“I think the governor was wise to call the meeting and get the ball rolling,” said Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady.

Democrats were not as certain.

Senate President John Cullerton said: “It’s better than we had for the two-year period with no budget at all, in effect. So that’s a positive thing.”

Democrats chided the governor, in his budget, for spending millions from a tax hike he vetoed. That, they say, proves the increase was necessary.

“It was hypocritical and inconsistent,” Cullerton said.

Rauner sees it differently.

“There were indications from the General Assembly they weren’t going to do significant cuts now so I didn’t put some of the cuts … on the table yet.”

It is exactly the prospect of cuts that rankles House Speaker Mike Madigan, who didn’t speak to reporters.

Madigan released a statement saying: “If the governor’s agenda is to push more of his extreme cuts to health care, senior services and resources for our most at risk residents, he should stay on the sidelines.”

The governor and Democrats did agree to work together on a revenue estimates before starting to plan how much to spend.

In Springfield, that accounts for progress.