Madigan snubs Rauner’s stopgap budget as deadline nears

By Harvard Zhang

Springfield, Ill. — Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan showed no rush to advance a short-term budget Governor Bruce Rauner proposed on the last spring-session day to fund public entities and avoid a government shutdown.

Governor Rauner and Republican leaders proposed passing a stopgap spending plan to float public schools, universities and social services programs through December 31 before the legislature adjourns Tuesday. Opposing a Tuesday passing, the speaker wanted the governor’s proposal to go to a budget working group to “fashion a good, solid bill.”

“This is not something that is going to happen today,” Madigan told reporters after meeting with Rauner.

The governor’s stopgap budget includes funding to keep public schools open in the fall, to pump $600 million into higher education institutions, and to help the vulnerable and feed prisoners, according to political newsletter Capitol Fax that received a memo from Rauner’s budget director Tim Nuding.

The expenses would be paid for through a combination of federal money, tapping into the state’s rainy-day fund and other specialized funds, and not repaying $450 million the state borrowed last year, according to Capitol Fax.

State Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont, and House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, said the fully-funded stopgap budget would provide certainty as lawmakers continue to work out a long-term solution. They appealed to rank-and-file Democrats to approach their leadership for the makeshift spending plan before the spring legislative session ends Tuesday.

“What we’re talking about now is something to provide minimal stability to the state, could be accomplished by midnight, and they’re saying no to even that,” Radogno said.

Durkin and Radogno introduced on Monday in both chambers bills to fund K-12 education in the fall, which they said it’s possible to pass in time.

The continuing budget negotiation would most likely not touch on new revenues and non-budgetary items such as collective bargaining and worker’s compensation, according to Cullerton. He sidestepped a question on whether his chamber would vote Tuesday on the budget Madigan muscled through the House last week.

Madigan’s budget, $7 billion short of revenue, includes an additional $700 million funding for public schools, with Chicago Public Schools receiving about $400 million in low-income student aid and pensions contributions.

Madigan announced Monday that he’ll  keep the House in session every Wednesday throughout June, in case there would be no agreement by the end of Tuesday. A tougher three-fifths majority is needed to pass any bill starting June 1.

Photo at top: State House Speaker Michael Madigan spoke to reporters Tuesday morning after meeting with the governor and other legislative leaders. (Harvard Zhang/MEDILL)