Hynes: Quinn's loan plan 'not a solution'

December 4, 2009 2:56:31 PM PST
Governor Pat Quinn's plan to borrow $500 million to cover the state's expenses is a half-baked idea. That's what Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes said Friday. Because Comptroller Hynes is one of three state officials who must approve any short-term loan, the one requested by Governor Quinn cannot happen, but the deal will certainly become a campaign issue.

The comptroller showed reporters copies of a letter he sent Friday to Governor Pat Quinn refusing to approve a half-billion dollar loan the governor says the state needs to pay its bills through the end of the year.

"We owe so much money already, the very money we borrow would almost immediately have to be set aside to offset the earlier borrowing," Hynes said.

"I read the letter," said Gov. Quinn.

The governor took offense that Hynes -- his 2010 Democrat primary opponent -- wrote a letter instead of calling or visiting his office in person. And Quinn appealed to the comptroller to change his mind on the loan, because state vendors, especially social service agencies, are waiting months to be reimbursed.

"Their workers are counting on us so we can keep them whole through a very difficult time," Quinn said.

Workers at one North Side Chicago human services agency missed three paychecks over the past six weeks because the state is $4.5 billion behind in paying its bills. The agency received partial reimbursement this week after its problem was reported on ABC 7.

Comptroller Hynes says a $500 million loan won't make a dent in the state's debt or social service providers waiting for payment.

"They would not wait any less if we were to move forward on this, because it is not a solution to our cash flow problems...He is offering false hope to providers ," said Hynes.

Quinn, who said the state's bond rating was better than average at AA, pointed out that Hynes approved a similar loan in December, 2009, shortly after then-governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested. He was asked if he thought Hynes was holding his request hostage for political reasons.

"I know that when I come to work everyday in this job, in this building, all I do is work for the public interest, nothing about politics," said Gov. Quinn.

State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias must also sign off on the loan. He says his office received paperwork on the deal Friday afternoon and it is under study.

What Giannoulias says really doesn't make a difference at this point. Hynes says no and that's the end of it for now.


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