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State Lawmakers Still Must Deal With Tax Breaks, Facility Closures

Illinois House Floor

House floor at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Ill. (AP File Photo)

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — Unfinished business is bringing Illinois lawmakers back to Springfield after Thanksgiving.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports, while the Nov. 29 return date was scheduled after lawmakers failed to vote on a tax break that would help companies such as Sears and CME Group.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports


Terrence Duffy, executive director of the CME Group, warned lawmakers last week that if they did not hurry up and move on a tax break, his company would explore moving the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade out of Illinois.

But a state representative who helps determine how money is distributed out hopes there is more.

“The Human Services Department took a $1.2 billion hit. There are some tough decisions about reallocation to be made,” said State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), who chairs the House Human Services Appropriations Committee. “We’re in the process of evaluating what FY ’12 should look like; what FY ’13 should look like, and I believe that when we come back on the 29th, and the 30th probably, of November, we’re going to be making some of the tough decisions.

Feigenholtz will not assure you that the legislature will cancel his plan to close five mental health facilities and two prisons. She says keeping everything open can’t be the long-term goal.

“We have to figure how to do less with less, but serve more,” she said. “I’m not sure that we’re getting to reach that goal with state-operated facilities, and so I believe that even though we may not be closing these facilities right away, we’re likely to be closing them soon, because we need money for more community services.”

On the chopping block are the Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln, the Tinley Park Mental Health Center, the Jacksonville Developmental Center, mental health facilities in Rockford and Chester, the Mabley Developmental Center in Dixon, and the Illinois Youth Center in Murphysboro.

Quinn announced the plans for layoffs and facility closures in September, blaming Illinois lawmakers for sending him a budget that had $2.2 billion less in revenue than he wanted.