Rauner wish list down to 5 main issues with stopgap plan set to expire

When Gov. Bruce Rauner took office nearly two years ago, he unveiled an ambitious, 44-point agenda that promised to transform state government through measures that included overhauling the sales and gas tax, lifting the cap on charter schools and giving struggling towns the ability to declare bankruptcy.

The rookie Republican politician also laid out plans to gradually increase the minimum wage, amend the state constitution to make it easier to limit costs associated with the state's employee pension system, limit expensive payouts in personal injury lawsuits, and set term limits for lawmakers and statewide officers.

Several items on that agenda have since been shelved, as Rauner and the Democrats who control the General Assembly remain deadlocked on a state budget. The historic impasse has squeezed budgets at state universities, threatened social service providers and sent the state's debt soaring — and there's little indication the stalemate will end anytime soon.

That's because the fight is less about numbers than ideology. While Rauner's wish list has shrunk, it remains a prerequisite to a larger budget deal. The governor contends the state can't tax or cut its way to prosperity without enacting "structural reforms" to boost businesses and grow the economy. Read the rest of the story in the Chicago Tribune.