- Published: Friday, March 10, 2017 10:32 AM
SPRINGFIELD -- State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, asked Illinois Department of Natural Resources Chief of Staff Brent Krebs why he and the department that he oversees remain optimistic about the passage of the grand bargain.
“You said that you are optimistic with the governor’s office and his budget people working on the grand bargain, which he has now blown up three or four times,” Holmes said. “With the governor’s budget being $4.6 billion out of balance, I want to know why you feel that this can be rectified without cuts to agencies such as yours, which have been pretty much decimated.”
Krebs responded that morale is still high in his department and that current budget woes have no effect on his optimism. “I maintain that an agreement can be reached,” Krebs said. “Without getting mired in the details of your negotiation, I’m convinced that we can get this thing done with some more negotiations.”
“I wish I shared your optimism,” Holmes said.
The bipartisan package of legislation known as the grand bargain was thrown off track last week when Gov. Rauner contacted Republican legislators and convinced them to vote against the package of interconnected proposals. Rauner’s move was a surprise to many, who pointed to the governor’s reliance on the framework’s revenue bills to close an almost $5 billion shortfall in his budget proposal and his public commentary praising the senate’s negotiations.
“I think you’re going to have to look at some cuts unless we get the governor to decide that he’s going to come up with revenue increases or even negotiate,” Holmes told Krebs. “At this point, Rome is burning. We need to do something.”