"I wanted to come to the parade today because this is the heart soul of Illinois. People coming out and honoring our veterans and all those who've fought for our freedom," Gov. Quinn said.
But as Governor Pat Quinn marched in the Park Ridge Memorial Day Parade, he had Springfield on his mind. State lawmakers -- facing a Thursday midnight deadline -- must put finishing touches on the budget, including resolving a $2.7 billion Medicaid shortfall; and, in the face of a bond rating downgrade, reform the Illinois pension system.
"Our job this week is to reform the pension system which has defied reform for decades. Our job this week is to restructure Medicaid so we have healthcare for three million people in Illinois that doesn't break the budget," Gov. Quinn said.
"There's three legs to this stool and we're moving forward in a very positive direction," Sen. Dan Kotowki, Park Ridge, said.
Senator Kotowski is disappointed that some of his colleagues are still pushing to license five new casinos in Illinois and slot machines at horse racing tracks.
"It's part of the problem in Springfield sometimes people are looking at too much revenue before they look at how they can live within their means," Sen. Kotowski said.
The governor repeated his contention that the gambling expansion bill passed by the house last week to be voted on this week by the senate would invite organized crime into the state's gaming industry.
"We can't have loopholes for mobsters in Illinois and as long as I'm Governor we're going to make sure that we have a strong, ethical system to oversee everything and that includes gambling," Sen. Kotowski said.