Breaking Down Illinois’ Grand Bargain

Although the debate continues, lawmakers of both parties say they hope to pass a balanced budget by the end of May. (WRSP)

Deadlines are changing, the contents of the bills are fluid, and the state continues without a budget.

The Grand Bargain is the resolution to the state's two-year-old stalemate.

But with just three weeks left in the legislative session, lawmakers are still disagreeing with how to move forward.

"End the impasse that has gone on for far too long,” said Senator Andy Manar D-Bunker Hill.

Wednesday the package was discussed on the Senate Floor 71 days since the last vote, but Manar said there was a "lack of movement”.

“We have time and again compromised,” Manar said. “And I think we have given all we can give. And so, this comes down to whether or not republicans are going to take a step towards us."

Wednesday afternoon, Democratic Senate President, John Cullerton, addressed how minority leader Christine Radogno decided not to call for a vote on her bills. She said it's because they were not ready, one of those was a property tax freeze bill.

Republican lawmakers say Cullerton’s press conference Wednesday was uncalled for.

"Well what was the point of that, why?” Senator Rose Chapin, R-Mahomet said. “Why not keep negotiating to see if we can get to a space where it's actually balanced and truly balanced because frankly if he wants to run out and run a bill that's a billion dollars in the hole; I think that's completely counterproductive to getting Illinois out of the mess we're in right now."

Governor Bruce Rauner's spokesperson responded to Cullerton with a statement:

"The problem with Springfield politicians is they have been cutting bad deals for taxpayers for decades. It's why people and jobs are fleeing. It's time to get it right."

The Grand Bargain goes on, with Republicans saying negotiations need to continue and Democrats saying time is up and that voting needs to happen for the sake of the taxpayers.

“We have to show people in the state,” Manar said. “That we are willing to take tough votes to fix the problem."

Six bills have passed, two will not be voted on, and the other five are currently on hold.

Although the debate continues, lawmakers of both parties say they hope to pass a balanced budget by the end of May.

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