Gov. Quinn meets with Mayor Daley

February 2, 2009 6:26:19 PM PST
The governor displayed his interest in working closely with Mayor Daley, something his predecessor Rod Blagojevich rarely did. As political stops go for the new governor, none in Chicago would be as important as the visit on Monday afternoon with Mayor Daley.

"He has always believed in fighting for working families here in Chicago and really in our whole state and across the country. That's really our number one job today," said Gov. Pat Quinn, (D) Illinois.

Governor Quinn said the mayor advised him not to make any quick decisions regarding the state's troubled finances.

"He basically said let's find out how bad the deficit is, get top notch people to help us evaluate just how bad our debt is in Illinois," said Quinn.

Democrat Quinn has six weeks to come up with a plan to deal with the state's looming $3 to 5 billion budget deficit. Among the suggestions is a state income tax increase. Each one per cent hike reportedly would raise an additional $4 billion in revenue.

Republicans already are lining up against tax increase to address the deficit.

"We're not going to grow jobs by raising taxes. We get very focused on the here and now and don't take a longer view," said Sen. Matt Murphy, (R) Palatine.

Representative Julie Hamos, the Evanston Democrat who led the effort to pass a sales tax increase for mass transit last year, said it's too soon after Rod Blagojevich for higher taxes.

"Right now, people are so disgusted and disgruntled with state government that we could not sell that to them right now," said Rep. Julie Hamos, (D) Evanston.

Quinn says how he'll address the budget issue will also depend on how money Illinois will receive from the federal economic stimulus bill. That's why he's flying to Washington to make the state's case on Tuesday.

"We want to make sure that Illinois is ready to go at every level of government to make sure that when the federal stimulus money arrives, we can use that in our very best way to create jobs right here in the Land of Lincoln," said Quinn.

In Washington Governor Quinn will spend most of his time meeting with members of the llinois delegation and perhaps have a session with the former Illinois congressman who is now the secretary of transportation.

One other note, Quinn will not take the state plane to Washington. He will leave on Monday night commercially on United Airlines, and he'll fly coach.