A relatively rare occurrence in Springfield on Thursday: Gov. Bruce Rauner met with Illinois' top legislative leaders to talk about the budget.
Rauner is trying to reassert his role in budget-making, after more than a dozen fellow Republicans sidelined him last summer, working with Democrats to end a two-year stalemate.
Democratic Senate President John Cullerton came out of the meeting with a relatively optimistic take.
"The process will be much easier because the governor’s assuming a lot more money than we had in the past," Cullerton said.
Democrats say Rauner is effectively acknowledging Illinois needs the extra money raised by last year’s tax hike, though Cullerton says that does undercut the governor’s campaigning against higher tax rates.
“Yeah, it doesn’t square. It’s hypocritical and inconsistent," he said.
For his part, Rauner says as long as the final budget is balanced and has no new taxes, he’ll be “inclined to sign it.”
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