Rauner on state budget: 'There has been some significant progress'

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - None of the state's top leaders in Springfield are using marijuana, as far as we know. But they do seem to inhabit alternate realities.

Top Democrats claim there hasn't been any serious bargaining over a new state budget since May. The old one expired in June.

But FOX 32’s Political Editor Mike Flannery reports Governor Bruce Rauner insists progress is being made

The governor's comments came as he stood with the Chamber of Commerce, urging Illinois to make it more difficult to sue corporations.  That was part of Rauner's original Turnaround Agenda, but he indicated it was off the table weeks ago. So what's going on? The governor says it's all too delicate to explain.

“There has been some significant progress. It's a difficult situation for me to describe in detail, which leader, and which issue, which members of the General Assembly are for reform, which aren't. It would be, it would hurt the process for me to publicly discuss the personal positions,” Rauner said.

That's all beside the point, according to a spokeswoman for Chicago Democrat and Senate President John Cullerton.

“What we need right now is leadership from the governor. What we need now is a focus on math in order to resolve our issues,” the spokeswoman said.

She said there's been no serious negotiation since Rauner vetoed the Democrats' unbalanced budget, and the state Government has operated without one for 10 weeks.

Another 10 weeks takes us past Halloween, Thanksgiving and into the holidays. Come January, Democrats will need -- not the current supermajority -- but only a simple majority to enact another budget.

Sources say it's what they may do if the Springfield stalemate lasts that long.

At that point, Springfield's competing alternate realities would be on full display: legislative Democrats likely to pass another unbalanced budget, daring the governor to use line-item and reduction vetoes to make the numbers work.

Gov. Rauner didn't want to wear the jacket for such gigantic cuts 10 weeks ago. He still doesn't, demanding Thursday that Democrats obey the state constitution's requirement for a balanced spending plan.