SPRINGFIELD - Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton issued the following statement regarding the pending retirement of his colleague and friend Republican Leader Christine Radogno.

"She and I began as Senate leaders on the same day. We started our relationship in those roles by voting for each other. We then turned our attention to the impeachment trial. We followed that up with a long-overdue, bipartisan agreement on investing in roads, bridges, schools and other infrastructure.

It has been nine years of cooperation and professionalism.

It’s been my honor to have Leader Radogno as my legislative partner, and I have cherished the opportunity to work with her as a colleague and friend. She was the one who first reached out to me to start the Senate effort to show that we could balance the budget. Frankly, this week’s leaders meetings wouldn’t be occurring if it wasn’t for her.

I will miss her camaraderie and common sense. But I also hope that she has a few tricks left up her sleeve before July 1 to help us finally get out of this mess."

SPRINGFIELD – With time counting down to the end of the state’s budget year, Illinois Senate President John Cullerton urged the governor to use the coming days to reach an agreement. The following comment is in response to the governor already talking about ordering more Special Sessions beyond Friday, June 30 and can be attributed to John Patterson, spokesman for Illinois Senate President John Cullerton:

“It’s Wednesday. Now is not the time for the governor to give up. Now is the time to find agreement. People are counting on us. Jobs, schools, vital services all hang in the balance. The avenue to success is there. We would hope that the governor would finally show the willingness to end this impasse and end the chaos.”

Senate plan being used as framework

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Senate President John Cullerton expressed continued optimism that a state budget deal can be reached before the end of the week and prevent Illinois from going another year without a budget.

The Illinois House has begun amending the balanced budget plans the Senate previously approved, and legislative leaders met again Tuesday to try to hammer out a compromise.

“You should know the Senate passed a budget and we have been reconciling that with the House,” Cullerton told reporters after the leaders meeting. “It’s a byproduct of a lot of bipartisan work, and I think it looks like we should have a very good agreement on it.”

The state’s fiscal year runs out on June 30. Illinois has gone two years under Gov. Bruce Rauner without a budget. The Senate approved a balanced budget last month that matches the spending limits the governor proposed. That plan is now pending in the Illinois House.

SPRINGFIELD – Emerging from the first legislative leaders meeting in months, Illinois Senate President John Cullerton said his fellow leaders recognize the urgency of reaching a budget deal and that Sunday’s meeting should fuel new optimism that it will happen soon.

Asked by reporters if the people of Illinois should be more or less optimistic after the meeting, the Senate President replied: “I would say more.”

When asked why he felt that way, he said, “Because we couldn’t even get a meeting a couple days ago.”

Indeed, Sunday’s afternoon's meeting of the Republican and Democratic leaders from the Senate and House was the first of its kind this year.

Governor Bruce Rauner pulled the plug on budget meetings with the legislative leaders back in December, arguing that he didn’t think Democrats were serious about a budget deal.

Just weeks later, the Senate leaders unveiled a sweeping set of financial and governmental reforms dubbed the Grand Bargain in an effort to shake loose a state budget after a nearly two-year impasse. The Senate Democrats went on to pass a balanced budget plan. Even the House Republican leader has acknowledged that the Senate has “done their work.”

Senate President Cullerton told reporters Sunday that the meeting was civil and he would be briefing Senate Democrats on developments in advance of another leaders meeting being scheduled.

Asked if the governor would attend future leaders meetings, Cullerton said: “That’s up to the governor. He’s the one that calls those meetings.”

The Senate President again noted that the Illinois Senate had already approved all the issues the governor cited in convening Special Sessions of the General Assembly.