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Illinois lawmakers still far apart after special Sunday budget meeting

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By AP/KWMU

Springfield, Ill. – Illinois lawmakers remain divided on a new state budget after meeting with Governor Rod Blagojevich to look over numbers that show a significant gap between state spending and revenue.

Senate Minority Leader Frank Watson, R-Greenville, called the meeting productive. But he said it revealed to legislators just how far they still have to go to come up with a full-year spending plan.

Budget negotiators from the four legislative caucuses estimate the gap between income and state spending is near $900 million.

That figure does not include the ambitious spending proposals Blagojevich has pushed for.

House Speaker Michael Madigan said the report about the gap between spending and revenues was inconclusive because of arguments among the caucuses about the budget numbers.

He said Blagojevich should work to resolve those differences.

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