Rauner threatens to keep lawmakers in special session

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. --- The next big deadline in Illinois is Saturday, the start of a third fiscal year without a state budget.

Governor Bruce Rauner warned lawmakers that they’ll stay in Springfield until they get a deal done.

The Illinois House is taking up the governor’s reforms but the bills being introduced are Democratic ones. The House passed workers comp and pension reform but Republicans called the measures reform-less. Property tax relief failed.

The Democratic and Republican leaders have been meeting every day and have come out and sounded mostly positive, except on Wednesday. 

Republicans and Democrats met in caucus, while their leaders huddled at Speaker Mike Madigan’s office. After about an hour together, the speaker’s top aide emerged.

Meanwhile on the House floor, Democrats moved their bills pertaining to Governor Rauner’s reforms, but Republicans called them “fake.” They said Democrats abandoned negotiations in order to ram through their own plan.

“Hell, you have no idea how low I will go to get a budget,” Representative Steven Andersson said. "You have no idea. But the point is here, you do this now, you interrupt these negotiations.”

Democrats counter they’re trying to work with the GOP.

“This is place of compromise. This is place of negotiation each and every one of these proposals have been discussed with Republicans,” Representative Lou Lang, said.

House Speaker Madigan is out with his spending plan—a $36.5 billion proposal, but he’s asking Republicans to share the blame for a tax hike that will help pay for it.

Republicans said they back a Senate revenue plan that would raise the personal income tax from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent in addition to new taxes.

If there’s no deal by Friday at midnight, state construction projects may be halted, credit agencies may slash Illinois’ rating to junk status and payment of large lottery prizes will be delayed.

In a statement, Governor Rauner vowed to extend the special session if there’s no deal by the deadline.

Lawmakers are now bracing for the real possibility they will miss the Friday midnight deadline and that the stalemate will continue.