Rauner calls for budget meeting, only Republicans attending

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s vision of a swift, post-election budget compromise is off to a rocky start with Democratic leaders absent from the first negotiation meeting the Republican governor requested.

Rauner asked House and Senate leaders to meet Monday afternoon to begin work on ending a 16-month budget standoff but only Republicans will be attending. House Speaker Michael Madigan said Sunday he has a scheduling conflict. Senate President John Cullerton then bowed out, saying the meeting wouldn’t be productive without everyone there.

Rauner used his vast wealth to reduce the Democrats’ numbers on Election Day, but they still control the Legislature and have resisted Rauner’s demands for union-weakening, business-friendly legislation as part of any budget deal.

Lawmakers return to Springfield on Tuesday for a brief, annual fall session.