Radogno will continue budget negotiations until she steps down Saturday

Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno walking to brief press on resignation Thursday. (Photo by Rachel Droze)

Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno announced Thursday she will be resigning effective at the close of business on July 1, the first day of the new fiscal year.

Radogno said her exit was planned.

Originally she was going to step down when the Senate Grand Bargain moved to the House. She said once that plan fell through, she decided to wait until May 31.

After realizing there was still work to be done, she opted to wait until the end of the fiscal year.

She leaves her post as Senate GOP Leader with "a sense of sadness and some disappointment." However, she said she's leaving with no regrets.

"I don't want to be one of those people that wakes up and wishes I had gone earlier," Radogno said Thursday during a press conference. "This is a natural break and, as I said, my biggest concern is that we have a good, speedy, orderly transition."

Radogno broke into tears walking out of Thursday's press conference, where several Democratic senators were waiting for her, showing their support for the leader's bipartisanship during her tenure.

Senate President John Cullerton responded to Leader Radogno's announcement Thursday, saying in part he will miss her camaraderie and common sense in the Senate.

So what does this mean for the state's budget crisis? Leader Radogno says she will continue negotiating until she leaves Saturday.

Speaker Michael Madigan says the $36.5 billion Senate spending bill will be brought to the House floor on Friday. This is standard procedure and does not mean any votes will be taken on the bill. This spending plan is a major piece needed for a state budget.

Madigan says negotiations are still underway, and House Republican Leader Jim Durkin emphasized the importance of reaching a deal before midnight Friday.

"To keep the state from going into what would be the obvious junk status with the credit rating," said Durkin. "So, I'm going to do everything I can to convince the Democrat leaders to work with us to avoid that disastrous situation."

Madigan said, "If everybody's reasonable, it could've been done two years ago. It should've been done two years ago, it can be done."

If a budget is not reached by July 1 the state of Illinois will be entering its third fiscal year without a complete and balanced budget.

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