Despite a recent Illinois income tax hike, the state is still facing a huge budget shortfall. Governor Quinn will be at the Thompson Center in downtown Chicago Thursday to address the budget concerns. What's on the line? Thousands of state employees could lose their jobs at prisons and homes for the mentally ill.
"Make no mistake, if the governor announces layoffs or closures of state facilities today, that is tantamount to saying we are stepping back from the vital public services that are needed now more than ever. AFSCME members, state employees are the men and women who do the real work of state government, caring for veterans, protecting kids from abuse and neglect, caring for individuals with disabilities," said Anders Lindall, AFSCME.
Quinn blames the Illinois General Assembly for not giving him enough funding and spending authority. Quinn says he is short by about $2 billion, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and critics of possible layoffs say Quinn would be violating an agreement by cutting jobs. In 2010, he signed a no-layoff deal with AFSCME in exchange for concessions.
"I have to abide by the will of the General Assembly. They passed the budget that requires reductions, and therefore, we'll have to carry those reductions out," said Quinn.
"This is a collective bargaining agreement that has the force of law, and our members kept their side of it," said Lindall.
The news release for Quinn's event says he will talk about the next steps in managing the budget. It does not say specifically if he will address the jobs issue.