Gov. announces $2.2B in cuts amid budget crisis

July 9, 2008 9:18:10 PM PDT
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced Wednesday evening $2.2 billion in cuts that would have to be made to government programs if some lawmakers continue to oppose his plan to balance the state budget.The governor for lawmakers to attend Wednesday's special session last week.

""The House Democratic leadership, instead, decided to convene a committee on the hull. When [they do that], that means all talk and no action?a circus for excuses," Governor Blagojevich said.

While Senate members and House representatives were called back to Springfield, all the public activity Wednesday was in the House chamber.

House Democrats, who are the majority, continued Wednesday to withhold their support from Gov. Rod Blagojevich's budget-balancing plan.

As speakers tried to explain the complicated Capital Bill to reluctant House Democrats, South Side Sen. Donne Trotter, who supports the governor's effort to close the $2 billion deficit, worked the floor. Trotter was in Springfield trying to shake loose some of the House members who oppose the plan.

"We are elected by a constituency, not by the Speaker. We have an obligation to some 120,000 people who asked to come down here and 'Bring back things that will enhance my quality of life,'" said Democratic Sen. Donne Trotter.

"I elected the Speaker, not the other way around. So, he should lead like we expect him to lead. However, the citizens, they take precedent over any one of us, and we should be doing the right thing for our kids," said Chicago Democratic Rep. Ken Dunkin.

While House and Senate Republicans have also signed on to the governor's plan, House Democrats, led by Speaker Michael Madigan, still oppose it.

The Capital Bill, funded in large part by an expansion in casino gambling, would raise an estimated $34 billion to build roads, bridges and schools in the long term. In the short term, it would help raise money to balance next year's state budget.

Some lawmakers opposed to the plan say they do not trust the governor, who denies he is under federal investigation.

In Chicago Tuesday, Mayor Daley said trust is critical to the process.

"Trust is not taken from one individual to another. You have to build that trust. It isn't just automatically given to you," Daley said.

Without new revenue, the governor would have to make deep spending cuts to balance the budget, which could hurt him politically.

Madigan, a Blagojevich opponent who has publically discussed the governor's possible impeachment has, not budged. He had one of his own Senate supporters working the House floor as well Wednesday.

"I think that at the end of the day, there will be no support, or very little support, of the governor's plan among House representatives, and we'll be back to square one," said Chicago Sen. Martin Sandoval.

Speaker Madigan was in the Springfield House Chamber Wednesday, but ABC7 Chicago is told that, most likely, no votes would take place before the end of the day. Votes could, possibly, happen Thursday, and lawmakers would consider certain aspects of the governor's revenue-generating plans.

ABC7 is also told that there is not any Democratic majority support for the plans laid out by the Democratic governor.


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