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With Budget Through Legislature, Gov. Rauner Promises Swift Action

Jim Durkin
Brian Mackey
NPR Illinois
House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Willow Grove, urged his colleagues to continue the bipartisanship that yielded Illinois' first agreed budget in years.

The Illinois General Assembly has approved a budget for the state — and Governor Bruce Rauner is indicating he’ll “enact” it into law.

In any other state, passing a budget is routine. But in Illinois, it’s become something remarkable.

“I’ve been waiting for this moment for quite some time,” House Republican Leader Jim Durkin told his colleagues. “I never expected it, particularly in this environment that we’ve been in over the last three years."

He was talking about the negotiations between Democrats and Republicans that led to a budget deal.

The final spending plan doesn’t raise taxes, which was one of Rauner’s requirements.

But it also doesn’t cut taxes, which has been a key talking point of Rauner’s reelection campaign.

Nevertheless, Rauner issued a statement promising “swift action to enact” the budget. Presumably that would give Illinois a full budget when the new fiscal year beings in July — the first time that’s happened in half a decade.

As for Durkin, he says he thinks the success of the budget negotiations can serve as a model for every problem brought before the General Assembly.

“Folks, our constituents are starving for that type of attitude and cooperation,” Durkin says. “Don’t lose it after today.”

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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