Illinois Senate's top Republican to quit this week; still no budget deal in sight | St. Louis Public Radio

Illinois Senate's top Republican to quit this week; still no budget deal in sight

Jun 29, 2017

Updates with details of planned vote Friday — Illinois' Senate minority leader is calling it quits come Saturday. Republican Sen. Christine Radogno's announcement Thursday came as lawmakers are still trying to nail down an elusive budget deal. 

Meanwhile, House Speaker Michael Madigan said he'll call a $36.5 billion spending plan for a vote Friday while Democrats and Republicans continue to negotiate tangential issues crucial to a state budget deal with Gov. Bruce Rauner. The Chicago Democrat reiterated Thursday that in order to pay for that plan, there would need to be an income-tax hike, though no legislation for that has been filed.

Illinois has been without a budget since 2015, leading to a multibillion-dollar deficit and deep cuts to social services and education. The state faces a Saturday deadline to avoid starting a third fiscal year in a row without a spending plan. Madgian said talks continue over key issues demanded by the Republican governor: restrictions on workers' compensation payouts, pension-benefits savings, local government consolidation and a property tax freeze. 

Radogno, from Lemont, told reporters that she decided to step down earlier this year, but wanted to aim for a budget deal first. 

"I have done everything I can do to resolve the state's budget crisis," the 64-year-old Republican said. She worked with Senate President John Cullerton to fashion a wide-ranging budget compromise to break the long-running stalemate, but couldn't convince 21 fellow Republican senators to vote for key parts of it. 

Rauner said in a statement that Radogno is a "consummate professional and public servant" who will be "sorely missed." Radogno is a social worker who was elected to the Senate in 1996. She and Cullerton took leadership of their respective caucuses the same day in 2009.  

This is a developing story and will be updated.