Democrats and GOP remain far from agreement on Illinois budget

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Democratic Speaker Michael Madigan on Tuesday indicated there won’t be a state budget unless Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner sets aside his economic agenda, prompting the governor’s allies to accuse the House leader of placing the state “in peril.”

Madigan’s comments followed a closed-door meeting with Rauner and legislative leaders as a temporary stopgap budget to keep government afloat through the end of the year is set to expire.

It was the first time the group has been in a room together in several months and followed tens of millions of dollars in campaign attack ads on both sides that sought to demonize Madigan and Rauner as the cause of the record impasse.

The speaker emerged from the half-hour meeting on the first day of the fall session saying another deal to get state government through the end of its budget year in July could happen if Rauner follows “the framework” for previous stopgap agreements. That’s Madigan-speak encouraging Rauner to set aside his so-called Turnaround Agenda, which the governor has made a prerequisite of a larger budget deal.

Madigan’s comments Tuesday indicate the parties remain far apart in discussions about how to end a 16-month budget standoff that has crippled social service programs and higher education institutions. Rauner wants Democrats to adopt business-friendly, union-weakening legislation as part of a budget agreement.

Another meeting between Rauner and legislative leaders is planned for Wednesday.