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Treasurer Rutherford: State Government Lacks Long-Range Planning

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Dan Rutherford

Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford has promised that mistakes made during a promotion for the Bright Start college savings program will not be repeated. (Credit: CBS)

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford says it’s time for long-range planning to come to government, and the state should be run more like a business.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports, Rutherford is talking about the process of closing state facilities. In the private sector, Worldwide Widgets would just have to give a 60-day notice before shutting down a factory, but Rutherford says that’s not the point.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports

“What you’re talking about is the notice to employees in doing that. That’s not what I’m saying. The worldwide widget-making company doesn’t just decide in two or three weeks that they’re going to close a major plant,” Rutherford said. “They strategically think through and prepare where they’re going to be manufacturing that widget in the future; what they’re going to do with that fixed asset they already own. It is absolutely a business principle approach that I think that we should be looking at with our government.”

Rutherford’s announcement comes as Gov. Pat Quinn confirms plans to close a Jacksonville, Ill., center for people with developmental disabilities. He has also announced plans to close the Tinley Park mental health center.

Together, the savings from the closures would be nearly $20 million, Quinn said last month.

Quinn is preparing to deliver his budget address for the year on Wednesday. He will reportedly call for a 9 percent cut for most state agencies, and for major cuts to the Illinois Medicaid program.

He said, in the past, governors and lawmakers have failed to address problems with the state’s pension and Medicaid systems, allowing costs to skyrocket.

“My job is the repairman. I’m here to resolve these difficulties, and move our state forward,” Quinn said Monday.

Quinn said tough times will require tough measures, meaning the 9 percent spending cuts for all state agencies. But that cut will require closing prisons and mental health facilities.

On Monday, the Illinois Chamber of Commerce gave Quinn a C in his efforts toward job creation. Quinn was quick to take issue with the mediocre grade.

“I got an A from the United Auto Workers when I was in Belvedere not too long ago. When I became governor, Chrysler had 200 jobs at that plant. This summer, they’ll have 4,200 jobs, so I think that was a pretty good testament to our good work,” he said Monday.

More details on Quinn’s budget plan are expected to emerge later Tuesday during a series of briefings for those elected officials and legislative leaders.

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