Critics of Quinn budget: Spending still going up in Ill.

February 21, 2012 8:30:40 PM PST
Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to outline plans to close dozens of state offices and some state facilities when he announces his budget proposal Wednesday.

The governor's aides said that under Quinn's plan, the state would spend over $34 billion in fiscal 2013. That's actually $50 million more than was budgeted for this year.

"Spending is still going up," said Sen. Matt Murphy (R-Palatine). "Spending went up this year, it's going up next year under the governor's budget. There's no restraint here."

At a news conferences during the past week, the governor said he would ask all departments except education and state police to cut their spending by 9 percent. Not many reached that benchmark in the Quinn proposal and a few will have their budgets slightly increased next year.

"We said most agencies, the goal was 9 percent. We didn't say every agency," said Jack Lavin, Quinn's chief of staff.

The governor has proposed deep cuts in the Department of Corrections. He's recommended closing the super max prison at Tamms and the maximum security penitentiary for women at Dwight, as well as six so-called transition centers for adult inmates near release and two juvenile detention centers.

Also, Quinn would shutter 24 Department of Human Services offices, three DCFS offices, four state hospitals, and 16 state police telecommunication centers.

"The closures affect about 2,300," said Lavin. "Some of these people perhaps will be laid off, some through attrition, some will move to other facilities."

Quinn's aides said the governor's speech would not suggest ways to resolve the state's biggest fiscal issues: its unfunded pension liabilities and skyrocketing Medicaid costs. Quinn will wait for the general assembly to recommend plans.

"When we have the framework, when we have the details they will be presented in the appropriate way in legislative hearings, etc," said Jerry Stermer, Quinn aide.

Quinn will give his budget address on Wednesday at noon.

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