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Illinois governor, leaders negotiating stopgap budget

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Illinois governor Bruce Rauner. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) _ Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and leaders in the Illinois Legislature have begun meetings to negotiate a bipartisan budget deal.

Democratic state Senate President John Cullerton said Wednesday morning that offers and counteroffers have been exchanged. He didn’t give specifics as sessions continued amid new signs of optimism about a deal to keep the state operating without a full budget.

Illinois’new fiscal year begins Friday. That’s when billions in patchwork spending that lawmakers approved for the current year _ including money for K-12 education _ will expire.

Senate Democrats and Republican leaders filed competing plans Tuesday aimed at keeping schools open this fall.

The Legislature is meeting Wednesday for the first time since lawmakers adjourned in May without approving a full-year spending plan for the second straight year.