Illinois lawmakers scramble to approve budget by Saturday

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois lawmakers are continuing efforts to seal a state budget deal.

House Democrats could call a vote Wednesday on a statewide property tax freeze that would make exceptions for Chicago, distressed school districts and cities trying to pay off long-term debt and make contributions to police and fire pension programs.

The property tax freeze is a long-standing demand of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner in exchange for the state’s first budget in two years.

Republicans will examine a budget presented to them Tuesday. House Democrats said it’s a $36.5 billion outline dependent on $5 billion in increased income taxes. It also cuts spending by $3 billion and boosts education spending by $350 million.

Lawmakers face a deadline of Friday for agreeing to a budget before a new fiscal year begins Saturday.