Illinois State Budget
Congress isn’t the only government body facing a “financial cliff.” Illinois lawmakers also are being warned about the state’s dire financial situation, which could get even worse if the federal government has to slash funding to the states.
Gov. Pat Quinn says the state’s Medicaid system is on the verge of collapse, and to save it, billions of dollars in spending must be cut. One service that could end on the chopping block is hospice care for the poor.
A conservative think tank has proposed an alternative state budget that would cut wages for state employees by 10 percent; require retired workers to pay for their own health care premiums; and force local school districts to fund teacher pensions, instead of the state.
Senator Mark Kirk says Illinois can forget about federal assistance if it goes to Congress saying it’s broke and needs a bailout. Kirk has released a report showing that Illinois state government is teetering on the edge of insolvency.
Gov. Pat Quinn said Thursday that he is moving to lay off more than 1,900 state employees and close seven state facilities , blaming Illinois lawmakers for sending him a budget that had $2.2 billion less in revenue than he wanted.
Illinois’ “Transitional Assistance” program has helped homeless, disabled and unemployed state residents for years, but now it’s gone away, a victim of the state’s budget shortfall.
A major labor union has asked an independent arbitrator to intervene in their dispute with Gov. Pat Quinn over his decision to cancel pay raises for some 30,000 state employees.
One way or another, the budget numbers have to come together in Springfield.
Illinois Senate Republicans have vowed to block any plans to borrow money to pay the state’s overdue bills.
It’s been said “follow the money.” Now, the state says it will make it easier for taxpayers to do that by posting online reports about how much government is taking in and spending.
Whichever candidate wins the gubernatorial race will inherit a major state budget mess, and tough choices about possible spending cuts, tax increases, or both.
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