Rauner trying to broker mega-deal in Illinois Legislature

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Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner.

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) _ Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner is seizing on Illinois’ budget crisis as a political opportunity.

The businessman-turned governor is trying to broker a deal to advance his pro-business priorities through the Legislature in exchange for new revenue to save programs supported by Democrats.

Democratic leaders who control the Legislature say they’re willing to negotiate, and talks could begin in the next week.

Rauner has been promoting an agenda he says will make Illinois more competitive and end years of financial mismanagement. It includes overhauling workers’ compensation, replacing Illinois’ pension system and creating “right to work zones.”

He says the roughly $6 billion deficit in next year’s budget creates “leverage” he needs to get some of those proposals passed.

Democrats say any budget deal must include both spending cuts and new revenue.

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