Senate Leaders: Not Backing Off ‘Grand Bargain’

January 26, 2017
 
Senate President John Cullerton and Republican Leader Christine Radogno speak to reporters earlier this month.

Senate President John Cullerton and Republican Leader Christine Radogno speak to reporters earlier this month.

Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

The Illinois Senate left Springfield Thursday, ditching its promise to vote on a compromise budget plan by the end of the month. But the Senate president warned members to be ready to take action early next month. The latest version would increase the income tax by one-and-a-quarter percentage points, and further decrease government pensions.

It would also fully fund Illinois government for the first time since 2015. Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno says it’s not soup yet, but they’re staying in the kitchen.

"That is by no means a statement that we are backing off this effort," she said.

A variety of interests are marshaling against the plan -- from big business to big labor.

Senate President John Cullerton, a Democrat, is negotiating with his Republican counterpart. He told his colleagues: When session resumes next month, come back ready to vote.

"The problems we face are not going to disappear," he said. "In fact, they're going to get more difficult every day."

During his State of the State address Wednesday, Gov. Bruce Rauner praised the effort, but did not say whether he supported any of the specifics.

Story source: Illinois Public Radio