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Cullerton Calls for GOP Candidates' Budget Plans

Updated: Thursday, February 20 2014, 10:46 AM CST
The Illinois Senate President is continuing his call for Republican help
in passing a budget this spring. And on the day of a GOP gubernatorial
debate, he continues his push to get specific budget plans from
candidates now.

We sat down with Senate President John Cullerton
today in his office, and asked why he is so adamant about getting plans
from Republicans now, despite the fact that he helped delay the current
governor's budget address. He told us the governor needed more time
because of the challenges in this year's budget, including a projected
$2.9 billion budget hole--and that's the same reason he needs help from
the GOP.

This is despite the fact that the Democratic party
holds supermajorities in both chambers, and had no trouble quickly
ramming through a Democratic budget in little time last year.

"We
didn't have a $3 billion deficit to make up," Cullerton said. "This is a
much more difficult year, and we've got Republicans running for
governor, who are members of the Senate, who want to be the governor
during this fiscal year. It's different this year. We need to have their
input."

"We have involved ourselves over the years to the extent
that the Senate president was willing to hear what we had to say," Sen.
Matt Murphy (R - Palatine) said. "He doesn't necessarily agree that we
can only spend what taxpayers can afford. He doesn't necessarily agree
that that tax hike was a job killer."

We also asked Cullerton
whether he will push for an extension of the temporary tax hike this
spring. He said he's waiting for the governor to deliver his budget
address in March, because it may offer multiple approaches to closing
the budget hole.

Quinn's budget address was originally scheduled for Wednesday, but it will now be March 26--after the primary election.

Cullerton
is holding a budget hearing Wednesday, and has invited all senators,
including Kirk Dillard and Bill Brady, who are running for governor.

We
asked if Treasurer Dan Rutherford and businessman Bruce Rauner, who are
also running for governor, are welcome as well. The Senate president
said they are. He said he wants whomever it is that eventually wins the
Republican primary to come to the Senate and House and present their
budget to lawmakers. Cullerton Calls for GOP Candidates' Budget Plans


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