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Illinois governor calls special session to force budget deal

Posted June 15

— Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has called state legislators to a 10-day special session starting next week to hammer out a budget deal and end an unprecedented impasse that could soon enter a third year.

The Republican announced the news Thursday in a Facebook video and statement, accusing majority Democrats of "ignoring" his recommendations.

"We have tough, urgent choices to make, and the Legislature must be present to make them," he said.

Lawmakers adjourned last month without a deal before a critical May 31 deadline, triggering the need for a three-fifths majority vote instead of a majority on a budget agreement. The new fiscal year begins July 1. Rauner has called for a special session running from June 21 to July 30.

Pressure has been mounting to get a deal.

Credit ratings agencies have threatened further downgrades without a state spending plan, unpaid bills are piling up and on Thursday Illinois Lottery officials said the state might get dropped from Powerball and Mega Millions games.

Illinois hasn't had a budget since 2015 when Rauner first took office. He has called for pro-business reforms such as workers compensation changes, along with a budget, saying longer term reforms will help dig Illinois out of a financial mess. Democrats say his proposal would hurt the middle class and have nothing to do with the state budget.

Spokesmen for Democratic House and Senate leaders didn't immediately return messages Thursday.

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Follow Sophia Tareen on Twitter at https://twitter.com/sophiatareen.

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