2,600 state jobs to be cut

August 3, 2009 7:35:11 AM PDT
State union leaders say Illinois already has the fewest government employees per resident nationwide. Now, that number is about to get slashed even further. Gov. Pat Quinn is cutting 2600 jobs to help slash the budget. As painful as that may be, Quinn says the state still needs to find additional sources of revenue to pay off about 4 billion dollars in unpaid state bills.

"We're in dire straights," said Gov. Quinn

Dire enough apparently that among the $1 billion in budget cuts that Governor Quinn announced Friday are 1,000 prison jobs at facilities that are already understaffed.

"...It's not safe. We're burning out our members. It's costing us more...that we wouldn't have to pay if we'd just hire enough staff," said Aders Lindall, AFSCME Local 41.

Money to fund college scholarships is also being cut. But Quinn says he has no choice.

"These are not wasteful cuts, they're painful cuts," said State Sen. Kwame Raoul, (D) Chicago

The cuts include

  • 185 million from the state's operating budget
  • 140 million from Medicaid and state health insurance programs
  • 250 million in some state grants
  • 175 million from education
  • and 125 million from corrections
  • Governor Quinn said the legislature left it up to him to make the tough choices, while still refusing his call to increase the state's income tax.

    "...We have to deal with fiscal reality. That we have a revenue shortfall to pay our bills. We have a $3.9 billion shortfall we have to pay. We're a deadbeat state," said Gov. Quinn.

    The governor says preserving health and safety are his top priorities when deciding where to make these cuts...and that unions could avoid some of the announced layoffs if they agree to forgo pay raises that are scheduled as part of their contract.


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