News Local/State

Madigan Creates Special Budget Panel To Oversee Gov. Rauner


Illinois' budget — and Governor Bruce Rauner's influence on it — will be examined by a special legislative committee. Powerful House Speaker Michael Madigan announced its formation Friday.

Madigan doesn't say straight out that Gov. Rauner's sudden elimination of state grants for AIDS, autism, and after-school programs are to blame.

But he hints at it strongly. In a press release Madigan says he's forming the special budget oversight panel "in light of recent budget actions."

Madigan says given how much the governor's talked about cutting "non-essential state spending," it's important for lawmakers to discuss just what that means.

Republican Rep. Ed Sullivan, who's from Mundelein, says it seems political.

"I want to see where the speaker wants to go with this, and it's just not an avenue to whack the governor for in essence doing his job," he said.

The governor's office didn't directly respond to a question on how it viewed the committee, and if it'll cooperate. Rauner's spokeswoman offered a statement saying he's committed to fixing Illinois' fiscal crisis, and working with the legislature to do it.

The committee could either be a sign of a contentious budget battle or an early attempt at reaching a compromise.

Democratic Rep. John Bradley of Marion will co-chair the committee. He pushed back when asked if Rauner has made too many budget cuts already, saying he's not ready to reach any conclusions yet.

"The depth and enormity of what's going on is significant," he said. "Something that we haven't faced, I don't believe. And so there’s a lot at stake. And if we're going to protect the security of the middle class, if we're going to look at the budget from a responsible and wise perspective, I think this is something which is important."