LA GRANGE, Ill. (AP) — Gov. Bruce Rauner and other Republicans say bipartisan groups of Illinois lawmakers are making progress on initiatives that Rauner says are essential to a deal on a long-delayed state budget.
Rauner and House GOP leader Jim Durkin said Monday rank-and-file legislators are finding agreement on issues such as property tax relief and changing workers’ compensation insurance to reduce costs for businesses.
Republican state Rep. Patricia Bellock says another group focused on the budget has been meeting several hours a day. She says they could publicly detail areas of agreement this week.
Democratic Sen. Andy Manar acknowledged “general progress” and positive discussions. But he says there’s been a lack of clarity about what Rauner wants.
House Speaker Michael Madigan has said Democrats won’t agree to any deal that hurts working families.
Rauner also said he was stunned by the state board of education’s decision not to intervene in the finances of the Chicago Public Schools.
“On one hand we’ve got Forrest Claypool and Mayor Rahm Emanuel screaming fire, disaster, mass layoffs, huge financial crisis,” he said. “And on the other hand we’ve got a state bureaucracy saying things aren’t so bad.”
Rauner has called for a state takeover of CPS. He described its finances as “opaque” and says bankruptcy would be hard and dangerous, but that CPS should have that as an option to restructure its debt.