Governor, legislators hold budget summit

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WLS) -- Legislative leaders took a new step to try and fix the state's budget crisis by holding a summit with Governor Bruce Rauner in Springfield Tuesday.

After the governor opened the meeting each leader made an on-camera statement. Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan went first, and it did not take long for Madigan to renew his charge that Rauner's insistence on pro-business, anti-union reforms were extreme and harmful to the state's middle class.

"The solution to the budget deficit problem does not lie in the extreme but rather in moderation," Madigan said.

But the Republican legislative leaders repeated their party's mantra: that all the Democrats want to do is raise taxes to solve the budget deficit.

"Do we put the Band-Aid or two and take care of the symptom or do we treat the root cause," said State Sen. Christine Radongo, House Minority Leader.

"This never-ending tax and spending cycle has driven our state into the ditch," said Rep. Jim Durkin.

But Senate President Cullerton said hearing the Republican talking points again was counterproductive.

"We' re willing to talk but speeches like that where I totally disagree with most of what you said is not helpful in the negotiation process," Cullerton said.

The governor had the last words during the meeting's public portion, doubling down on his demands for term limits, redistricting reforms and property tax relief which he called the number one issue for Illinois' working families.

"We've got to take on our property tax burden in my opinion and we should do it now," Rauner said.

Variations of this group have met several times over the last five months, but so far they haven't accomplished much. The same has happened today.
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