Approximately one fifth of Illinois' budget is on its way to the Governor. The Illinois Senate joined the House in approving nearly $8 billion to pay for pensions and debt. Just how much money Illinois has left to spend is up for debate. The House and Senate vary in their estimates. But the leaders of both chambers say it'll be less than what Governor Pat Quinn has proposed. At least $1.2 billion less, according to Senate President John Cullerton.
"I don't think it's a good idea to have anything off the table, I have certain priorities myself, but I think we should be open to everything. One thing we do know, we have to cut. We have to give the governor a balanced budget," he said.
Cullerton says Democrats will outline cuts in early May, and he challenges Republicans to do the same.
"We did come out with cuts and we were very specific. We're trying to not engage in an overly partisan process, which is I think what the Senate President would like to see us get back to," said Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno. who says the GOP won't participate in a piecemeal approach.
She says Cullerton's trying to get Republicans on record voting for controversial cuts to use against them in campaigns. Radogno says she nonetheless appreciates that the budget dialogue is focused on less spending.