CHICAGO (CBS) — Gov. Pat Quinn has decided to eliminate dozens of state parking spaces downtown, taking away free parking for many state employees.

WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports the governor has cut 80 paid parking spots used by the state, mostly in downtown parking garages. The shared parking spots were used by state workers, who parked in the spots for free.

Better Government Association president and CEO Andy Shaw said “this is a very small, but welcome step.”

Quinn’s office estimated the move saves the state about $100,000 a year.

“Whether it’s politically-motivated or reform-oriented doesn’t matter,” Shaw said.

He suggested the governor’s bid for re-election in a tough battle with Republican challenger Bruce Rauner might have been the real reason for cutting the perk for state employees who work downtown, where parking is notoriously expensive.

Shaw noted the move still leaves the state paying for nearly 150 other parking spots.

“This should be the first of many, many, many similar steps aimed at examining everything in the governmental environment, with an eye toward efficiency,” Shaw said. “The important thing is that all of these perks and sweeteners for employees have to be questioned in these tough budget times.”

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