Governor Bruce Rauner will call the General Assembly back to Springfield for the last 10 days of the month to pass a budget.
This comes a day after Rauner and Republican legislators held a press conference to announce a package of budget and reform bills, including a four-year property tax freeze, school funding proposal, and term limits on legislative leaders and constitutional officers.
Democrats in the Senate expressed support for a two-year property tax freeze, term limits on legislative leaders, and a differing school funding formula that would give more funding to Chicago Public Schools.
“Republicans in the General Assembly have laid out a compromise budget plan that I can sign,” Rauner said in a Facebook video. “It provides a true path to property tax reduction and it reforms the way our state operates to reduce wasteful spending. It will fund our schools and human services, while spurring economic growth and job creation. It is a true compromise – and one I hope the majority in the General Assembly will accept.”
House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) said Democrats have tried to work to find common ground with Rauner on some of his proposed reforms, but he said the Republican governor has refused to work across the aisle to negotiate a balanced budget.
“House Democrats will continue our work on the budget from Springfield, but as Governor Rauner has met each of our attempts to date with refusal, it’s clear that the onus is on the governor to show that he is finally serious about working in good faith to end the crisis he has manufactured," said Madigan.
A package of budget and reform bills passed by Senate Democrats are also currently awaiting potential votes in the House. Senate Democrats say they moved forward with the elements of the "grand bargain" without Republican support after the governor pulled GOP votes off the bills.
Through a spokesman, Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) said a budget deal will require bipartisan compromise, but questioned Republican sincerity.
“It’s going to require bipartisan compromise to get to a balanced budget signed into law and get Illinois out of this situation. That’s the reality now that the May 31 deadline passed. We hope this is a serious, real step toward that compromise by House and Senate Republicans. But a Republicans-only, mid-June news conference doesn’t exactly scream bipartisan compromise," said Cullerton spokesman John Patterson.
State Rep. Tim Butler (R-Springfield) applauded the special session and GOP budget proposals, calling the Republican-introduced bills a bipartisan effort.
"What we have seen this week is that the Republicans are taking the lead to end this ridiculous situation. The balanced budget plan introduced by House and Senate Republicans takes the elements of the ‘grand bargain’ negotiated between Senators and attempts to move them forward in a bipartisan fashion," said Butler.
"This week I introduced a real, full year balanced state budget that isn’t another lifeline, stop gap, or band-aid budget. My budget and the compromise reform measures my colleagues have put forth this week are the real solutions that the people of this state deserve. I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get back to work to get this done," said State Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington).
The Democratic Governors Association criticized Rauner for calling the special session after a fundraiser, saying the governor is playing politics rather than working on a "real deal."
“Bruce Rauner’s decision to hold a fundraiser before calling a special session shows voters exactly what his priorities are,” said DGA Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro. “The fact is that Bruce Rauner is more interested in playing politics than getting a real deal done for the people of Illinois. Holding fundraisers and campaign-style events, and running attack ads, is exactly the theatrical politics that landed his as ‘most vulnerable incumbent in the nation.’”
Per diem payments for legislators during the special sessions are estimated to cost Illinois citizens roughly $40,000 per day. Rauner said he will cancel any remaining special session days he called if his "compromise balanced budget plan" is passed before June 30.