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It's time to cut a deal

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Senate President John Cullerton sent the following message yesterday to subscribers of the Senate Democratic Caucus newsletter, the Majority Report:

Illinois has gone more than nearly two years without a real state budget. This week the Illinois Senate will try to do something about it.

Nearly one dozen proposals addressing a range of issues – empowering voters, reducing government, raising revenues, balancing the budget, paying people on time and more – are positioned for a vote in the Senate.

It's time to cut a deal.

The lingering uncertainty over Illinois’ finances has sent college students flocking to out-of-state schools. Plummeting enrollment here threatens the existence of our once nationally acclaimed higher education network.

Illinois is losing jobs, losing futures and losing opportunities.

This week, we have a chance to show people that we care about more than politics. We have a chance to show people that we are up to the job and that we do indeed care about the future of this state.

The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce president and CEO is the latest to weigh in on the need for compromise.

“A grand bargain will come. Illinois can't survive without a responsible budget and necessary economic reforms,” Theresa Mintle wrote in Crain’s Chicago Business last week. “The cost of doing nothing is real and makes the consequences all the more inhibitive and painful from a human and financial cost perspective.”

In recent weeks, other key leaders and opinion writers across the state have offered similar support, urging everyone to set aside politics and see the big picture.

Yes, even Gov. Bruce Rauner is relying on the Senate. The budget he recently unveiled is billions of dollars out of balance and assumes passage of the grand bargain to achieve savings.

Will the Senate deal be successful this week? I learned a long time ago not to make predictions on things I can’t control.
A better question is whether it needs to be successful. And we all know the answer to that.


Cullerton to City Club: the time is now for grand bargain