Jim Durkin

state of Illinois

  Illinois lawmakers left Springfield a month ago fractured, indignant and without a budget. They'll return this morning for another try at a compromise.

Gov. Bruce Rauner and the legislature's four top leaders met fairly often toward the end of May, when they were supposed to have passed a new state budget.

But the meetings were short, often taking less than an hour. And the leaders comments after were often curt.

Compare that with Tuesday night, when leaders met for three hours.

Illinois Democrats say they will not pass Governor Bruce Rauner's last-minute pitch for a stopgap state budget, at least not Tuesday, the final day of the legislature's regular spring session.

Just days ago, Rauner's office nixed the idea of a temporary budget -- saying it'd kick the can down the road.

Now, he's had a "turnaround." He's pushing a plan to fund schools, finally pay what's owed to cash-starved social service agencies, and generally keep things running through the calendar year.

Governor Rauner's relentless push for a reduction in unions' power and Democrats' sustained refusal to go along has Illinois set to round out an eleventh month without a budget.

It's under this backdrop that the two parties are also tasked with crafting next fiscal year's budget.

Indications early this week were that it wasn't going well.

House Speaker Michael Madigan said following a meeting with Rauner on Wednesday that the governor and his "agents" were "unpersuasive" in making the case for Rauner's agenda before small "working" groups.

"20110420-RD-LSC-0369" By Flickr User U.S. Department of Agriculture / (CC X 2.0)

Mixed messages came out of a meeting Tuesday between the Illinois governor and legislative leaders. It was their first meeting in months, even as Illinois is in the midst of an unprecedented budget standoff.

Senate President John Cullerton, a Democrat, left the meeting saying he got what he wanted out of it.

"The main thing I wanted to accomplish was to make sure that in the revenue side ... that the governor was committed to being in favor of some revenue increases, and he said he was," Cullerton said.

state of Illinois

The Illinois House passed legislation Thursday to pay nearly $4 billion for higher education and social services -- but without new revenue to back it up. 

Democrats like House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, a Democrat from Chicago, cast the package as a compromise with Gov. Bruce Rauner. It allows him to avoid repaying money taken from special state funds, a notion Rauner has endorsed.

"It's not the best idea since sliced bread," Currie said, "but it is the governor's idea, and I'm willing to give him the courtesy of a yes vote."

Amanda Vinicky

Call him “House Minority Leader Durkin.” State Representative Jim Durkin was elected Thursday by his Republican colleagues as their new House leader.  

The new Republican leader is from the Cook County village of Western Springs. He’s an attorney and has served twice in the Illinois House: from 1994 to 2002, and from 2006 to today. In between, he ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate.