Quinn blames Hynes for state's budget crisis

December 2, 2009 5:19:43 PM PST
The Illinois budget battle took center stage in the race for governor on Wednesday.Governor Pat Quinn accused his primary opponent, comptroller Dan Hynes, of playing politics with his budget loan request.

On Monday, ABC7 reported that over 300 workers at a not-for-profit had missed three consecutive paychecks because the state had not reimbursed the human services agency since last summer. On Wednesday, the governor blamed his political nemesis, the Illinois comptroller, for the fact the state is running out of money.

The governor said his plan for a short-term loan to get the financially troubled state through the end of the year is stalled because Illinois comptroller Dan Hynes--Quinn's Democratic primary opponent--will not sign off on the deal for political reasons.

"I'm ready to go, Alexi Giannoulias is ready to go. It's time for Dan Hynes to stop dragging his feet and tell his people to sit down half an hour or an hour," said Quinn.

In October, the governor predicted Illinois would run out of money if it did not take a $1 billion loan that needed to be approved by state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias and comptroller Hynes.

A Hynes spokeswoman listed seven dates on which there were contacts between the governor's and comptroller's staffs after which the loan amount was reduced to $500 million. But there'd been no agreement on what debts would be paid with the money.

"We certainly aren't going to sign on to a bond proposal which has absolutely no specific detail," said Hynes.

The comptroller says the amount of unpaid bills has risen to $4.5 billion, much of it reimbursements owed to human service agencies. This week, ABC7 visited one where over 300 workers had missed three pay checks during the past six weeks.

"If there is a particular agency that isn't being paid, that is an emergency need. I'd recommend to the comptroller to pay it right away. That's his job," said Quinn. "Somebody needs to stop the madness. We need a real plan to solve this budget crisis."

Last summer, the Democratic controlled General Assembly failed to approve a budget that would fund the government for a full year.

"It came out of the house as a six-month budget and said hey, they can stretch it out for a full year. Can't nobody do that," said State Sen. Rickey Hendon, (D) Chicago.

Republican candidate Andy McKenna, who released another TV ad on Wednesday morning, said Quinn is trying to hide Illinois' worsening financial state of affairs for his own political sake.

"One day he says it's stable. Next day he says it's an emergency," said Andy McKenna, (R) candidate for governor.

ABC7 heard the governor say state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias had already signed off on the short-term loan. This afternoon, a Giannoulias spokesperson said it was premature for the governor to say that and that no documents related to it had even arrived in the state treasurer's office.


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