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Cullerton: Rauner Has An "Obsession" With Going After Working Families

Illinois is about to enter its fourth month without a budget. One of the state's top Democrats says the problem could be resolved within days, if the governor moved off his insistence that other laws pass first.

The last time Gov. Bruce Rauner and the legislative leaders all got together was when the state had no budget crisis; it was apparently in late May, before the last fiscal year was over.

Months later, they've come to no resolution. And Senate President John Cullerton isn't alone in saying that the state is on track to literally run out of money. Even without a budget in place, court orders and laws mean Illinois is spending money at the pace it did last year despite taking in billions less in taxes. Yet Cullerton says it's been "weeks" since he's even talked with Rauner.

"I'm willing to go to any meeting with the governor -- with the other leaders, or otherwise," he said. "The question is: what are we going to talk about when we get to those meetings?"

Cullerton says Rauner is holding the budget "hostage" to unrelated issues.

"He has an obsession with basically going after working families and union families; he just has an obsession with it," Cullerton said Sept. 27 on WGN Radio's "The Sunday Spin" program. "It's just bizarre that we cannot come back and talk about the budget. He's the governor. You know, he's the one that has to work on that. And he's ignoring it."

Rauner has said Illinois needs to overhaul workers' compensation and to limit collective bargaining to spur economic growth. The Republican governor says without these and other fundamental changes, Illinois' finances will never be repaired.

Amanda Vinicky moved to Chicago Tonight on WTTW-TV PBS in 2017.
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