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Illinois lawmakers hold special session amid budget impasse

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Capitol building in Springfield, Illinois.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) _ Illinois lawmakers tasked with resolving the state’s unprecedented budget impasse are to gather to begin the effort.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has called a special session in Springfield that starts Wednesday, saying the time to act hasn’t been more urgent. The House and Senate convene at noon.

If there’s no budget by July 1, the state will begin a third consecutive year without a spending plan. Credit ratings agencies have already said they’ll downgrade the state’s worst-in-then-nation rating down a notch to “junk status.”

The first-term Republican governor and Democrats who control the Legislature have been deadlocked since 2015.

Rauner says he wants pro-business reforms in conjunction with a budget. Democrats say they’ve approved several of those ideas, but Republicans keep changing their demands. Republicans say Democratic efforts fall short.