Public offers budget-balancing suggestions

Governor Pat Quinn talks to the media at a news conference, Friday, Jan. 23, 2009, in Chicago. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

February 25, 2010 2:51:19 PM PST
More than 1,000 people have posted suggestions on how to fix the Illinois financial crisis on the governor's new budget website.

At this pace, Governor Pat Quinn will have more than enough reading material between now and his budget speech on March 10th. His website is giving taxpayers a never-before-seen look at the state's ugly financial situation-- and they are responding in droves.

"My job as governor is to tell people the facts, the truth, what's necessary for the people of Illinois to know," said Quinn.

The governor posted the budget at on Wednesday. By mid-afternoon Thursday, more than 1,300 people had responded with suggestions, such as:

  • Steve Beverlin of Auburn: Stop spending more than comes in. Don't raise taxes.
  • Anonymous from Oswego: Stop adding new items to a budget when there are no funds available.
  • Jan Poehler from Centralia: I suggest all persons in government for the state of Illinois take a paycut.
  • "This is a new way to petition using electronic democracy where citizens can petition the government with their ideas," said Quinn.

    "First of all, gang up on the politicians and start from scratch. I have to budget my money, so why can't they?" said Doris Lauer, Glenview. "The politicians are nuts? Or don't they think? I am so mad. I'm just mad. And all my friends are mad."

    "There are so many deals being done and nothing being done for the people. It's being done basically for the people who have the jobs and holding the politician job," said Paul Douglas, Chicago.

    Residents also posted ways the state can raise money:

  • Mary Mangia of Riverside: Privatize some state services.
  • Randy Soland of Springfield: Raise the sales tax.
  • Timothy Carter of Downers Grove: Legalize pot for personal use.
  • Chicagoan Rick Trenkmann says he believes an income tax increase is unavoidable at this point, but says the state needs to convince him its serious about spending cuts.

    "They should just let go of 10-percent of all the people that are employed by the state of Illinois off the top. Give everybody else a 10-percent pay cut," said Trenkmann.

    The Illinois Education Association, a large teachers union, is encouraging members to write to the governor's website.

    In most of the comments ABC7 saw, people said they believe the state government can do more to cut spending. They are also very concerned about the size of pensions that the state pays retirees.