Illinois Senate on spot to find votes to close budget gap

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois Senate leaders are on the spot to find enough votes for a proposed deal to close a $1.6 billion gap in this year’s budget to save state programs and agencies from running out of money.

The plan passed the House Tuesday and could be voted on as early as Thursday in the Senate.

It would authorize Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner to transfer $1.3 billion from other purposes, including parks and conservation. The rest would come from a 2.25 percent across-the-board budget cut. It also gives the governor authority over $97 million to distribute to needy schools.

Several sticking points emerged during negotiations between the governor and Senate Democrats. But Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Heather Steans says concerns about cuts to schools, hospitals and local governments were addressed.