ManarCullertonIllinois will never lift itself out of the state budget crisis if the governor and legislative leaders can’t get in a room and talk to each other about their differences, Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) said Friday.

“Gov. Rauner has made it clear that he is the only one with the authority to convene meetings of the governor and the four legislative leaders. He has not called one since Dec. 6,” Manar said. “These five leaders who control the budget negotiations have not been in a room together in nearly 200 days. It’s no wonder we haven’t resolved the budget crisis.”

Manar called on Gov. Rauner to meet with the four leaders every day for the remaining days of the legislative session until a budget deal is complete. He added that the best place to start discussions is with the balanced budget and reform package the Senate already passed. Those bills all are in the House awaiting action.

Rauner called a 10-day special session of the General Assembly, which costs taxpayers roughly $48,000 per day. The special session began Wednesday and ends June 30, the final day of the current fiscal year.

“Gov. Rauner used his power to get lawmakers back to Springfield to work on a budget. With seven days left until June 30, the best way to finalize a budget now is to work with the balanced budget and reform package that the Senate passed and sent to the House in May,” Manar said. “I’m urging the governor convene leaders’ meetings – every day for as long as it takes for the next week – so that they can begin negotiations and together steer our state out of this mess.”

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