State Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea, is part of a group of state representatives appointed by House Speaker Mike Madigan, D-Chicago, to negotiate with Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner on the governor’s agenda.
Hoffman, along with fellow Democratic State Reps. Barbara Flynn Currie, Lou Lang, and Arthur Turner, all of whom represent districts in the Chicago-area, have been asked to work with Rauner “to identify areas of his agenda where compromise can be reached,” according to a news release.
Currie is the House majority leader; Hoffman is the assistant majority leader; Lang and Turner are deputy majority leaders.
“The House has taken action on several of the governor’s requests, and this group will be able to discuss his further proposals and consider how they would affect the state,” Madigan said in a news release.
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Neither Hoffman nor Rauner’s office could be reached immediately for comment.
Two years ago, these same Democrats ‘engaged’ in working group discussions on these very issues only to walk away from the table to pass a budget that was more than $4 billion out of balance,” Durkin said. “Last year they once again ‘engaged’ with Republicans on these issues only to walk away and pass a budget that was $7 billion out of balance.
House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs
House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, said Rauner should use “great caution” following Madigan’s announcement.
“Two years ago, these same Democrats ‘engaged’ in working group discussions on these very issues only to walk away from the table to pass a budget that was more than $4 billion out of balance,” Durkin said. “Last year they once again ‘engaged’ with Republicans on these issues only to walk away and pass a budget that was $7 billion out of balance.
“The fact is, Democrats have a history of creating these working groups in an attempt to waste time and obfuscate from their record of more than 20 years of reckless spending and failed policies. As I’ve said repeatedly, we are willing to negotiate with Democrats to bring an end to this impasse, but that only works when both sides respect the priorities of the other side. We remain willing and ready to negotiate and compromise, but time is running out,” Durkin said.
Rauner’s push for business friendly reforms have been considered non-budgetary items by Democratic leadership in the General Assembly.
Madigan said agreeing to a budget is the most important issues facing the state.
“It is our strong desire that Governor Rauner join us in putting the budget first,” Madigan said. “By showing the governor that House Democrats stand ready to work with him in good faith, it is my hope that he will return to the negotiating table and work with us to end the budget crisis.”
The ongoing budget impasse has led to more than $13 billion in unpaid bills, Madigan said.
“For nearly two years, families in our communities have lost critical services as a result of the budget impasse,” Madigan said. “Educators, social service agencies and countless others have warned that Illinois will be dealing with the consequences of this impasse for many years to come.”