Rauner won't say if suburbs, schools will take hit in budget fix

Gov. Bruce Rauner today declined to say whether an immediate state spending fix would come at the expense of schools' or suburbs' budgets.

Suburban mayors say Rauner and top lawmakers are considering cutting their towns' share of income taxes as part of a deal to fill some state accounts that are running out of money months before the budget year ends on June 30. And a Lee Enterprises report says part of the fix could be a spending cut of more than 2 percent across state government, including to school districts.

Rauner would confirm neither point at a Springfield appearance today but said he would support legislation that mirrors the talks he's had with lawmakers.

“We've had various ideas on the table. We've been very close to a resolution for about five weeks,” Rauner said. “I believe that a resolution is now about to be done. Of course, I've believed that for a little while.”

A program that helps low-income families pay for day care has run out of state money, and an Aurora facility has shut down as a result. Several state prisons are in danger of missing payroll. And funds to pay court reporters are nearly gone, which could cause problems at suburban courthouses, chief judges say.

Rauner is likely to need support from both Democrats and Republicans to get a deal done as the pain of cutting one part of the budget to fix another is likely to be distasteful to many lawmakers. Democrats are likely to object to cutting school money, in particular.

Still, the threat of missing payroll could help force a deal by the end of the month. Last week, Kane County Chief Judge Judith Brawka said she hoped an “impending sense of doom” could help spark a deal.

The looming budget crisis stems from a budget approved by Democratic lawmakers and Gov. Pat Quinn last year for the spending plan that ends June 30.

Rauner has faced protesters for a budget he's proposed, but it hasn't been debated by lawmakers and wouldn't take effect until July 1.

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