Senate returns after Democrats push ahead on 'grand bargain'

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Roy Cooper makes remarks during a news conference at Credit Suisse in Morrisville, N.C., May 9, 2017. Democrats plan to call parts of the "grand bargain" budget compromise Wednesday as the clock ticks down toward the end of the legislative session.

Democrats went it alone to approve a spending plan, as well as a proposal that would change how IL funds schools and one that would allow the state to borrow $7 billion to help pay down its $14 billion backlog of unpaid bills.

"It's not time yet, we just need a little bit more time so at some point you just have to recognize maybe the person on the other side of the table isn't serious about getting a deal done", said Sen.

"Do ya think it's going to get any better, seriously?"

Senate Democratic President John Cullerton of Chicago and Republican Leader Christine Radogno of Lemont hatched a so-called "grand bargain" compromise five months ago.

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But it was done largely without the help of Republicans, and the results were uneven, at best.

On Wednesday, the state senate voted on several bills meant to help fix the state's fiscal crisis. "If it last four years we need a property tax freeze for four years", said Sen. It's part of the GOP budget plan, but they won't support it without all the structural changes they seek.

Top House Democrats said they would review any measures that may be sent over from the Senate. Toi Hutchinson, an Olympia Fields Democrat, said during debate.

Lawmakers also passed a bill to let the state borrow $7 billion to pay down the backlog of bills, which is now estimated at $14.3 billion and approved a measure giving counties the power to consolidate local government units. Later, Assistant Republican Leader Jason Barickman of Bloomington derided the "political show orchestrated by Democrats who are trying to portray agreement that does not yet exist". Cullerton decided Tuesday to remove that language, even bringing back six pieces of legislation that had already won approval so that they could be put up for re-vote as stand-alone measures. Cullerton says Democrats are also willing to freeze property taxes for 2 years, not any longer.

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