Illinois lawmakers making ‘general progress’ on budget issues

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Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner delivers 2015 State of the State Address

LA GRANGE, Ill. (AP) — Gov. Bruce Rauner and other Republicans say bipartisan groups of Illinois lawmakers are making progress on initiatives that Rauner says are essential to a deal on a long-delayed state budget.

Rauner and House GOP leader Jim Durkin said Monday rank-and-file legislators are finding agreement on issues such as property tax relief and changing workers’ compensation insurance to reduce costs for businesses.

Republican state Rep. Patricia Bellock says another group focused on the budget has been meeting several hours a day. She says they could publicly detail areas of agreement this week.

Democratic Sen. Andy Manar acknowledged “general progress” and positive discussions. But he says there’s been a lack of clarity about what Rauner wants.

House Speaker Michael Madigan has said Democrats won’t agree to any deal that hurts working families.