Illinois Senate Democrats are asking state agency heads to answer for Governor Bruce Rauner’s decision to pull votes off the “grand bargain.” The governor’s own budget proposal depends on the grand bargain, otherwise it’s short by $4.6 billion.
At one of several similar hearings, state Senator Patricia Van Pelt of Chicago grilled Public Health director Nirav Shah. She asked if he could suggest cuts to help make up the shortfall, but Shah declined.
VAN PELT: “So are you saying you can’t cut? I’m asking you for one cut. Can you give me one cut?"
SHAH: “I’m not prepared to discuss any. It is worth noting that our proposed budget, as it stands, does contain several budgetary reductions.”
Shah went on to outline about $3.8 million dollars in cuts, a tiny fraction of the deficit. Rauner says he could support the grand bargain if it was a “good deal for taxpayers.” But Democrats say they’ve already negotiated away as much as they can.