Yesterday, Governor Rauner gave his State of the State Address to the General Assembly. In his speech, he reiterated his "turnaround agenda" for the state, and also focused on the budget impasse that's nearly seven months in the making. Following the State of the State, many lawmakers in the General Assembly agreed that it's time to pass a budget, but whether that's indicative of actual plans to do so is unknown. Senate President John Cullerton said that he's encouraged by a number of things from Rauner's speech, like primary education and pension reform, but says that there are many fundamental disagreements on a myriad of issues, and that moving to action on an agreed budget will continue to prove difficult. Speaker Michael Madigan said that differences are inconsequential, and what really matters is that they be hashed out now so that a budget can follow.
"We are to get busy, sit down, (and say) What can we do to solve this budget problem?"
-Michael Madigan, Speaker of Illinois House of Representatives
Republican Representative Jim Durkin retorted to Madigan's statement, saying that progress can only be made once everyone is engaged on the issue, and willing to work together.
"When the Democrat President of the Senate is willing to go out and make public statement and say that 'I'm willing to work with this Governor'...I'd like to hear more of that from the Speaker."
-Jim Durkin, Illinois Representative - 82nd District
Come February, the state will be seven full months into the fiscal year without a balanced budget.