- Associated Press - Monday, June 26, 2017

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois House Republicans say they have narrowed their focus on issues tangential to a budget agreement.

House Minority Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs said Monday that leaders in his caucus have met with Democrats to negotiate cost-saving changes to the workers’ compensation and state employee pension-benefits programs. They also want a four-year freeze on local property taxes in exchange for a four-year income tax increase.

Lawmakers and GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner are trying to avoid the July 1 start of a third consecutive year without a budget. The deficit is over $6 billion with a $15 billion pile of past-due bills.

But Durkin says he wants to see a budget proposal from Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan of Chicago. Madigan has additional issues he wants discussed.

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