Special session begins in Springfield with no sign of budget deal

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- The 10-Day special session was gaveled to order with no sign of a budget deal Wednesday.

Republicans continue to push their plan and Democrats have their own.

House Speaker Michael Madigan, emerged from a closed door meeting with his caucus and said his team is putting their final touches on a bill.

“They have an outline of a spending plan,” he said. “They’ve engaged with Republicans. They’ve engaged with the Senate Democrats. They’ll engage with anyone who wants to engage with them to fashion a spending plan that would be good for all Illionisans.”

The Republican plan, which is backed by Governor Rauner, has already been released. It includes a balanced budget with spending caps, property tax relief, workers comp reform, term limits and pension reform.

Republicans say Speaker Madigan should adopt their plan or present his own.

“The sound of crickets chirping in the House Democratic Caucus is deafening. Where is Speaker Madigan?” Sen. Dale Righter said.

Madigan deputy, Representative Lou Lang, said Republicans have some good ideas but Democrats can’t back the GOP plan as is.

“Much of what they talk about is phony money,” Lang said. “They talk passing a budget that has $100 million in cuts to mental health, a budget that is drastic cuts to higher education. These are not things that Democrats are for and not things that the people of the state of Illinois are for.”

There’s growing pressure to act before July 1.  Ratings agencies are threatening to downgrade the state’s credit to junk status and schools and senior care centers could be in jeopardy.

As the clock winds down, no one is ready to discuss a short-term spending bill.

As for Governor Raunr, his political machines continues pushing his agenda.

Illinois’ two U.S. Senators, Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth warned today that the state will lose federal dollars for transportation projects if there’s no budget by July 1.