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GOP, Democrats say progress made in budget talks

GOP, Democrats say progress made in budget talks

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. _ Gov. Bruce Rauner says there's general agreement on a partial-year budget to keep IL state government going past Thursday's end of the fiscal year. Republicans and Senate Democrats on Tuesday filed rival spending proposals for the fiscal year that begins Friday.

This is the second year in a row that the legislature has adjourned without passing a budget before the end of the spring session.

Steve Brown, spokesman for Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan, reported "good progress" on the stopgap measure because Democrats insisted on "the improvement in what was a meager amount for higher education". "So again I don't think we want to get into any specific area that's now under negotiation but we've made progress,", said House Minority Leader Jim Durkin.

"Instead of doing the hard work of fixing Illinois' broken education funding formula, Bruce Rauner has wasted 18 months of his term holding the entire state hostage in the name of workers' compensation and right to work".

Some social service agencies have received money this year because of the court orders against the state. These five mayors were among the more than 40 that signed onto an op-ed that first appeared in the Springfield State Journal-Register urging the General Assembly to pass the GOP Leaders' stopgap budget and education funding bill. The governor is proposing about $220 million for schools, while Democrats are pushing a more comprehensive bill that would give schools about $700 million. They can't even agree on a stop-gap budget for six months, both sides possibly more interested in how they can spin this crisis to their advantage in the November elections.

Governor Rauner is also warning that essential services across the state will be cut without a budget deal.

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Illinois' budget year ends on Thursday. And should they be adopted, the very next step should be to take up responsible long-term school-funding reforms - and they're out there - that provide adequate support for schools and equality of opportunities throughout the state without taking money away from suburban school systems.

Many school districts statewide, including Chicago Public Schools, have said they won't open on time for the fall semester if they don't receive their state funding in July as scheduled.

State Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Vandalia. said the state's big issues, like how to solve its pension problem, have not been discussed at length.

State lawmakers could decide Wednesday whether to send hundreds of millions of additional tax dollars to the Chicago Public Schools, a district that has some of the highest paid teachers in the country. This includes Chicago Public Schools, with about 400,000 students.

Human services would be funded at $650 million from the Commitment to Human Services Fund. They say it's a matter of fairness because the state covers pension costs for all other IL school districts. Winkel said the solution lies in a comprehensive budget.

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