Rauner proposes open, then closed, budget negotiation

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The highly anticipated budget summit among Illinois’ feuding leaders will be closed to the public after all.

Gov. Bruce Rauner proposed late Friday a hybrid version of what was initially pitched as a public meeting on Nov. 18. In a letter to legislative leaders, Rauner suggested he and each leader be allowed public remarks in Springfield on the budget standoff, now in its fifth month.

Rauner said Friday the media should then be shown the door “so we can continue with constructive negotiations in private.”

Five leading Illinois business groups urged Rauner and legislative leaders to skip the public budget negotiation they’ve scheduled for next week.

In a letter released Thursday, the business leaders say a public meeting over the 18-week budget holdup would prevent “sincere and constructive” conversation necessary for successful negotiation.

Good government groups last month suggested hosting a sit-down to get the two sides talking.

House Speaker Michael Madigan said then he was in and it should be public.

Madigan spokesman Steve Brown had no comment Friday.

The budget should have taken effect July 1