Quinn Sticking To His Guns On Layoffs, Facility Closures
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — It’s a busy fall veto Session in Springfield, but there are some things which won’t get done.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports, addressing a range of issues in his office, Gov. Pat Quinn did not bite at a suggestion that he might flip-flop on layoffs and facility closures.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports
“We’ve had about five of the seven hearings so far. I think the hearings are very healthy. Everyone gets to speak – both the proponents and the opponents. The facts are the budgets of these various departments are not sufficient for a whole fiscal year to pay for all the facilities,” Quinn said.
Quinn announced the plans for layoffs and facility closures last month, blaming Illinois lawmakers for sending him a budget that had $2.2 billion less in revenue than he wanted.
Under Quinn’s plan, more than 1,900 workers are to be laid off, and seven facilities will close.
Among the facilities targeted by Quinn’s move are mental health centers in Tinley Park, Rockford and Chester; facilities for the developmentally disabled in downstate Illinois; the Illinois Youth Center in Murphysboro; and Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln.
An arbitrator ruled earlier this month that the layoffs and facility closures would violate a deal with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Quinn had promised no layoffs if the union agreed to a number of concessions on pay and benefits.
But in announcing the layoffs and closures, Quinn argued that he was no longer bound by that deal because state lawmakers sent him a budget that didn’t include enough spending to cover the state’s expenses for a full fiscal year. But arbitrator Edwin Benn said that didn’t matter, because the state’s deal with AFSCME is not canceled because of the state’s financial problems.
Quinn’s office immediately announced plans to appeal Benn’s ruling.
The cuts Quinn proposed were estimated to save $54.8 million, still leaving a gap of nearly $183 million between the spending lawmakers authorized and what the governor says is the minimum needed to operate Illinois government for a year.
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