SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- It’s the 322nd day without a budget in Illinois.
Today the key players in Springfield met behind closed doors at the governor’s office.
For almost a year they’ve been deadlocked. But today, small steps forward - depending on who you talk to.
Republicans emerged from the meeting optimistic. They say Democrat Michael Madigan has changed his tune.
But everything that we’ve heard from the speaker since that meeting – well, it all sounds the same.
For a while now, Governor Rauner and Republicans have said they’re open to raising revenue to solve the state financial woes if it’s tied to Rauner’s pro-business, union-weakening reforms.
But Speaker Madigan has said that’s a nonstarter.
But now Republicans say he’s listening.
Behind the scenes, the bipartisan working group will negotiate collective bargaining, pension reform and workers compensation reform - all complicated, red hot political issues.
Republicans say they’re ready to deal if there is agreement on reforms. Speaker Madigan seems less sure.
Madigan introduced yet another stop-gap funding bill today. Republicans say they are baffled by his move after today’s positive meeting at the governor’s office.