Gov. Rauner expresses optimism about Illinois budget talks

AUBURN, Ill. (AP) - Gov. Bruce Rauner struck an optimistic tone that he can reach a budget agreement with Illinois lawmakers next month and says that if a special session is needed he'll consider paying for it himself.

The Republican governor's comments Wednesday come a week after lawmakers reached a rare bipartisan deal to allocate $600 million in short-term aid for colleges that have received no state support since July 1. That's when the current year's budget should've taken effect.

Rauner's comments at Auburn High School were more subdued than in recent weeks when he has criticized Democratic leaders for a lack of progress in budget negotiations and accused them of "playing games."

Lawmakers return to Springfield for work next week to begin the final month of this year's legislative session.

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