Dueling Press Conferences held by House Democrats and Republicans
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WICS) —
In dueling press conferences Tuesday morning, House Democrats said they're seeking to find common ground with Governor Bruce Rauner to get a balanced budget, but House Republicans said Democrats simply are running out the clock.
Democrats said they're willing to deal with Rauner's off-budget issues, such as changes to the worker's compensation system. In turn, they're asking Rauner to consider their reform proposals that they said would improve the business climate while lifting up the middle class.
“We are asking that the Governor help to level the playing field for small- and medium-sized businesses by closing loopholes that allow profitable, big corporations to pay nothing at all,” Rep. Arthur Turner, D-Chicago, said.
Republicans said Democrats continually introduce reforms that don't change the status quo of Illinois.
“We need to call this what it is, it’s House Democrats running out the clock on the legislative session, appearing to engage, only to pull back at the last minute and offer simply rehashed proposals,” Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, said.
Both sides remain hopeful they can work toward a balanced budget, saying Tuesday they're still willing to negotiate.
“We are willing to meet with the Governor,” House Majority Leader Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago, said. “We’re willing to consider off-budget items. We’re ready to work. Our sleeves are rolled up and we’re just waiting for that call from the second floor.”
“We are willing to work,” Rep. Patricia Bellock, R-Hinsdale, said. “We have time, 15 days. We are willing to look over any economic proposals they have. We’re willing to work over anything to move this state forward.”
Tuesday, Rauner commented on a letter he received from House Democrats last week, saying in part,
“This is probably a last minute attempt by House Democrats to create a distraction and derail the senators who seem to be making progress and are coming close to an agreement."
If a budget is not passed for 2018, it would be the third consecutive year the state of Illinois would begin its fiscal year without a complete budget.