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John J Cullerton
Rauner confident on budget deal Cullerton says isn't close

New Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner denied Wednesday that he and Democratic legislative leaders have hit a roadblock in negotiations over whether to give him more authority to patch a multibillion-dollar hole in this year's budget. Following a meeting with Cabinet members, he expressed confidence that an agreement is just "days away." But on Tuesday, Rikeesha Phelon, a spokeswoman for Senate President John Cullerton, said the two sides are "nowhere near a deal" and instead seem to be engaging in "a high-profile game of chicken." Rauner wants to move money from what he calls "nonessential" areas into critical state programs that have shortfalls,...