UPDATED 01/10/11 12:37 p.m.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — As he was sworn in Monday for his first full term, Gov. Pat Quinn conceded that the state is in a “fiscal crisis.”
While Quinn acknowledged that he believes “in idealism and reaching for the stars” the fiscal crisis and other problems the state faces.
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Quoting a Gwendolyn Brooks poem, Quinn said, “Today is my giant hour, and nothing less than gianthood will do in Illinois.”
Quinn credited his administration with sweeping away the mistrust and lack of integrity that characterized the administration of his deposed predecessor, Rod Blagojevich. But Quinn said the state’s fiscal crisis cannot wait to be addressed.
“I’m here today to say we will pay our bills, and we will stabilize our budget. We will strengthen our economy,” Quinn said, “and we will do that very, very soon.”
Without referring specifically to the 75 percent income tax hike that he has endorsed along with Democratic leaders in the state General Assembly, Quinn said the state has “reached a point where I believe that we can enact, very quickly, a sound budget; a balanced budget that pays the bills in the State of Illinois; that pays off obligations, and that also makes sure that our economy is strong for today and our future.”
As Quinn, House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), and Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) try to get the tax hike passed, an unusual session of the General Assembly is scheduled for Monday, between the inauguration and the inaugurational ball.
The state budget deficit could soon hit $15 billion.
Quinn also emphasized the need for job creation, and also called for advancement of high-speed rail projects and a third Chicago area airport in Peotone.
Quinn became choked up as he talked about the triumphs and tragedies of fallen servicemen in Illinois. He became emotional as he talked about Ryan Beaupre of Kankakee County, who was one of the first casualties of the War in Iraq in 2003.
After Quinn was sworn in , Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon took the oath of office. She followed in the footsteps of her father, the late U.S. Sen. Paul Simon (D-Ill.), who was elected Illinois lieutenant governor in 1968.
Just before the ceremony, Inauguration Day had gone gray and cold, with storms on the horizon. One is a snowstorm from the west, the other a storm inside the State Capitol over a proposed income tax increase.
Across the street from the convention center, demonstrators brought in by unions were protesting for more jobs in Illinois.
But at the convention center, the 5,800 guests invited for the event for various officeholders being sworn in Monday are entering through what can only be described as extremely tight security. There are more uniformed police officers at the convention center, and metal detectors are the rule as opposed to the exception.
There were always going to be metal detectors, but the number of security personnel was greater than originally planned.
Illinois State Police spokesman Scott Compton has said not to expect any major changes in the aftermath of an Arizona shooting spree that left a member of Congress critically injured.
But Compton said some additional officers will be present for Monday’s ceremony. He says they will be visible to the public in an effort to discourage anyone who might be thinking about causing trouble.
Even before the Arizona shooting, state police had plans for protecting officials as they are sworn in and for responding quickly to any threat.
At 8 p.m., the doors open for the inaugural ball. The first dance commences at 10 p.m. at the convention center.
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