House Speaker Mike Madigan

Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner was a popular target Thursday when Illinois Democratic candidates met in Springfield for an annual political breakfast.

The Democrats are criticizing Rauner for all the things you’d expect: his agenda, the budget stalemate, and his reluctance to talk about President Trump. 

Gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy said both Rauner and Trump were too slow to condemn the violence and political intimidation last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

Illinois Republicans are gearing up for Gov. Bruce Rauner’s re-election fight. At a State Fair rally Wednesday, they made clear their campaign will focus on one man.

Rauner and other Republicans have spent years — and millions of dollars — demonizing Michael Madigan, the Democratic speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives. Heading into the 2018 election, they’re hoping to realize a dividend from that investment.

"We cannot give in to Madigan and his Chicago agenda any longer,” said Tim Schneider, chairman of the Illinois Republican Party.

Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

Illinois’ two-year budget impasse is over. The House of Representatives on Thursday overrode the governor's budget veto, giving final approval to a spending plan and tax increase.

After two years of stalemate, more than a dozen Republicans broke with Gov. Bruce Rauner.

They joined Democrats to pass a $5-billion dollar tax increase.

The governor had been holding out for his business-friendly agenda, but some Republicans, like Rep. David Harris, from Arlington Heights, say time’s up.

Illinois Democrats took another step in budget negotiations Tuesday, proposing a spending plan for state government.

House Speaker Michael Madigan acknowledged it won’t meet every request of Gov. Bruce Rauner.

“But I think that it goes a long way toward giving the state of Illinois a good solid spending plan that responds to the real needs of the state," he said, "and, significantly, is below the level of the governor’s introduced budget."

Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

Democrats and Republicans continue to negotiate in Springfield as Illinois approaches the end of two years without a budget. Both sides are narrowing their focus.

Republicans are emphasizing three issues: lowering the cost of workers’ compensation; cutting state pensions; and freezing property taxes.

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin said that, if Democrats try to water down changes in those areas, he’ll have a hard time winning support for a budget deal.

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