SPRINGFIELD — The effectiveness of a November 18th meeting between the governor and legislative leaders may rest on the meeting’s agenda.
The same groups which called for a public meeting to settle the budget impasse are now calling for the negotiations to a have a “bipartisan agenda.”
Gov. Bruce Rauner responded to the initial meeting request by saying his office would “circulate the agenda” to it. Sarah Brune, deputy director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, doesn’t think Rauner or the other leaders should be deciding on their own what issues will be on the table.
“A meeting where any of the stakeholders are the only one setting the agenda, that is not the kind of meeting that we’re looking to have,” Brune said. “We think that the most productive meeting is going to be one everyone who is attending has the chance to put input into that.”
Democrats like Senate President John Cullerton have complained about private meetings on the budget being unproductive due to Rauner’s insistence on talking about his legislative agenda, which has been criticized by Democrats for including issues unrelated to the budget.
“The meeting agenda will be the best predictor of the meeting’s productivity. If the governor truly wants to end the budget stalemate he will be open to an inclusive process that focuses on immediate state budget solutions”, said Cullerton spokeswoman Rikeesha Phelon.
Rauner himself has been downplaying the November meeting, telling a crowd in Rock Island this week that he doesn’t expect it to result in a budget agreement.
“I don’t think they’re going to offer compromises or creative solutions in front of a media negotiation. I just don’t think that’s likely,” said Rauner.