Quinn Confirms Need For Major Cuts, Possible Layoffs

UPDATED: 9/6/11 5:59 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Thousands of state employees could be facing the prospect of layoffs as Gov. Pat Quinn seeks to make “reductions” to deal with a massive budget deficit.

As CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports, Quinn confirmed Tuesday that he plans major spending cuts, although he would not provide details about how many employees could lose their jobs or what state facilities might be closed.

But asked if thousands of state workers could be laid off, Quinn said “we have to do what we have to do.”

State lawmakers and the state’s labor unions said they haven’t been given information about Quinn’s plan either.

The state’s offices in Bronzeville is where mothers get medical services for their children, caseworkers pass out food vouchers to families, or drug and alcohol patients meet with counselors.

It’s an important facility in the community, so when residents hear talk of cutting case workers, there’s anger.

“They cutting the wrong thing. They cutting something that we need as opposed to what they want,” state aid recipient Herman Jackson said.

The threat to case workers is just the beginning.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports, the shortfall amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars. According to a Chicago Tribune report, Quinn plans to issue layoff notices to thousands of state workers as well as close several state facilities, including a prison, a juvenile detention center, and homes for mentally ill.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger Reports

“The bottom line is that the money isn’t there to pay for a full fiscal year unless reductions are made,” Quinn said Tuesday.

The governor accused lawmakers of not budgeting enough money and forcing him to make drastic cuts. But some lawmakers called the move a political ploy.

“I have to abide by the will of the General Assembly,” Quinn said. “They passed a budget that requires reductions, and therefore we’ll have to carry those reductions out.”

The General Assembly approved a $33.9 billion state budget this year, about $1.5 billion less money than Quinn requested.

A spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan said Tuesday that he had no knowledge of any cuts, or if “any of that will happen.”

Republican lawmakers said Quinn’s threat appears to be a scare tactic.

“That number, I’m sure, is inflated for dramatic affect by the governor,” said State Sen. Matt Murphy (R-Palatine). “What he may be trying to do here is use political pressure to get more support for his $9 billion borrowing plan, which we think is unconscionable.”

Murphy said most lawmakers don’t support a borrowing plan, but they aren’t opposed to some kind of cuts.

State Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) – who ran against Quinn last year and campaigned for a 10 percent across-the-board spending cut – said Quinn should instead push for structural changes.

“What he should be doing is reorganizing our Medicaid system, reducing
costs to schools … so the lion’s share of state spending can be dealt with, without using our state employees as pawns,” said Brady.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31, the state’s largest public employee union, said it has received no word that the governor will follow through with this threat.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Alex Degman Reports

But AFSCME Council 31 spokesman Anders Lindall said Quinn is creating a crisis that doesn’t exist, arguing there’s enough money now to cover state operations.

“What we have is a budget problem that needs a solution,” said Lindall. “But provoking a crisis that threatens to slash needed services and throw thousands of people out of work only compounds the problem. It doesn’t solve anything.”

AFSCME said it made major concessions on pay and health care benefits in return for an agreement for the governor that there would be no job cuts or state facility closures this year.

But Quinn said he’s no longer bound to that agreement because state spending is “subject to appropriation” and lawmakers did not appropriate enough money to run the state for a full fiscal year without major cuts.

AFSCME rejected that claim, saying its deal with Quinn is legally binding and they’re prepared to go to court to prevent layoffs.

  • keith kizer

    Illinois: Land of Corruption. Inept politicians who cannot say no to reform.
    Inept losers with no kahunas.
    Indiana: Great business environment, honest respected political leaders.
    Move out of Illinois before you get taxed to death!

    • Truth

      HERE! HERE! (Standing up and applauding Keith Kizer)!

  • dan

    Just another politico game playing out at the taxpayers expense.

    Quinn’s gonna lay people off and close facilities and then someone is going to sue to undo it and then Quinn can say “gotta borrow more money and raise taxes” I tried but they won’t let me do anything else.

    Don’t you loser politicians get that we are on to your BS?


  • Vote R

    Aa-ah, the cruel irony of the state workers voting in yet another lunatic and now being thrown under the bus by their own messiah. The cuts would be put by the R candidate, too; but the fact that the guy they had voted for betrayed them must sting oh-so-bitterly.

  • Truth

    Why don’t we start at the top with the pink slips, from the Governor, Lt. Governor and the whole Illinois house & senate as well. After all, they’re all over paid prima donnas that don’t listen to their voting constituents!

    • Saving Illinois

      You have my vote as Governor

  • Bob Hicks

    The People of Ill-Annoy deserve what they get, they are the MORONS who elected the IDIOTS who have very effectively ruined this once great State! (as though it was their intent?) When will the Voters wake up and see that the light? My guess is..”When it’s Too Late!”..which is rapidly approaching, if not already past!

    • Jim

      It’s too late my friend. I read an article that said that for every $1 in taxes that we pay $0.65 goes to pensions. Any 1st grader would see this as unsustainable and fix it, but the Democrats in this state feel that we write them blank checks. Quinn = broken promises, broken state leader, broke state!

  • mohammedbinawad

    Yea, I have a cousin who is retired and receive a pension from Cook County and the state and she is only 60 years of age.

  • john

    When he actually does it , then it will be news. How many times have we heard this same story (layoffs, cuts in services etc) from Gov Chicken Little before and nothing happens. He made the sweetheart deal with the unions for no layoffs in return for his campaign fund donation
    . Notice he always picks on the areas that have the greatest scare value (i.e. prisons) and not the ones that fund all the deals with his friends. Go ahead gov close a prison
    Where is the tax increase money going to? His buddy Obama points to the 2% cut in social security tax that the rest of the nation got but not here in IL, it gets ate up by our tax increase. And people wonder why there is no recovery

  • Very Sadden

    Whom ever put him office deserve this. But I never voted for him, I knew better. Apparently who put him in office nver listen to him. He is doing exactly what he said he was going to. I am out of money…. Working hard and I fell like I work for the state. Stop taxing, now he is laying off. How dare him. He should get laid off.

  • Non-Liberal

    I am wondering if the Gov ever looked into what they are really spending our money on. I really doubt they ever have. They just assume. Have they ever stopped to look at the big picture? It isn’t the prisons that are costing the money, it is the prisoners themselves. Please tell me why someone who commits a crime is allowed cable tv, free health care, free food, free education, free clothes, and just about everything for free? Why is it that I have to pay for these things – because I obey the law? Prison is like a free ride. Why not make the prisoners actually work for their keep? Why not have them make license plates, make furniture, grow their own food, make clothes and soap? What is wrong with hard labor for what they have done. Oh wait, the ACLU and attorneys looking for a quick buck have sued the state saying that having these prisoners work is cruel and unusual punishment. And worse, they won! Why not charge these families that go and visit their loved ones in prison. Why make it that being in prison better than being out? And I do not want to hear about how hard these prisoners have it in prison (so please no comments from bleeding-heart liberals). Remember, prison isn’t supposed to be the Four Seasons. They are there for a reason.

  • http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/09/08/quinn-to-discuss-plans-for-layoffs-closing-of-facilities/ Quinn To Discuss Plans For Layoffs, Closing Of Facilities « CBS Chicago

    […] Quinn reportedly plans to issue layoff notices to thousands of state workers as well as close a pris… […]

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