Updated 02/15/11 – 3:55 p.m.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS/AP) – Illinois Senate Republicans have vowed to block any plans to borrow money to pay the state’s overdue bills.
Republican members of the Illinois Senate declared Tuesday that they are unanimous in opposing Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn’s borrowing plan.
Quinn has said the state should borrow $8.75 billion to pay community groups, businesses and others who haven’t been paid for months for doing work for the state.
“The governor’s $8.75 billion spending proposal is dead on arrival in the Senate,” said State Sen. Matt Murphy (R- Palatine). “We will not continue to help feed the governor’s insatiable appetite for more spending.”
Senate Republicans say not enough spending cuts have been outlined by the governor following last month’s income tax increase, which took effect retroactively at the beginning of this year.
The Republicans’ solution? Spending cuts.
“We shouldn’t eliminate the concept of across-the-board cuts,” said Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R- Lemont). “I know that’s been somewhat ridiculed, but (Cook County Board President) Toni Preckwinle just did 16 percent. That directive has not come down and I think we need to see that happen,” she said.
“We will not be able to get this governor, who has demonstrated a lack of willingness to cut spending, to actually go through and really cut spending, if we allow him to borrow yet another $8.75 billion on top of the $7.3 billion he just took from the people of this state with higher taxes,” Murphy said.
While Radogno and the other Senate Republicans preach cuts, they offered few specifics.
Radogno said many government programs don’t do much to improve life for state residents. She offered child-care services as an example of what could be reduced.
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Republicans and Democrats alike were awaiting the governor’s budget message Wednesday, and were wondering about his willingness to cut salaries and services.
Quinn was set to deliver his budget speech at noon Wednesday to a joint session of the General Assembly.
State Sen. Dan Duffy (R-Lake Barrington) said he is frustrated in the wake of January’s end-of-session vote to raise the income tax, saying Democrats have done nothing to cut spending.
“It was the top priority: (Democrats said) ‘We’re going to come in, we’re going to get back in session, and we’re going to come through with some cuts, some deep and serious cuts,’” Duffy said. “Well, we’ve been here now; there’s absolutely no proposals whatsoever to make cuts, and just the opposite. Now the proposal is to borrow even more money.”
Even Democrats have been left wondering what to expect.
“I think that there’s certainly been frustration out there as to where the specifics on where the cuts are going to be coming from,” said Illinois Sen. John Sullivan (D-Rushville), who chairs an appropriations committee.
Democrats control both the Illinois Senate and Illinois House, but any plan to borrow money would require Repubilcan support, as such measures require a three-fifths majority vote from lawmakers.
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