You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet
By Kevin Robinson in News on Aug 24, 2007 2:43PM
Well, he did it. Blagojevich finally pulled the trigger. 23 days after it was passed by the legislature, Rod Blagojevich approved much of Illinois' new budget. In a news release he said that he has removed $463 million in spending on "special pet projects and other spending that we simply can't afford." The cuts now go back to the General Assembly for consideration, where a fight is expected with Speaker of the House Mike Madigan. Senate President Emil Jones has vowed to stand with Blagojevich and block a veto override: what the governor didn't veto becomes law, and what he cut gets voted on, straight up or down. Our man in Springfield, Rich Miller, has a nearly line-by-line breakdown of some of the cuts, including health and human services.
Speaking of budget woes, Mayor Daley is urging the state to pass a 0.25 percent sales tax increase for the Chicago area. "The deal is there, and no one is going to blame anyone for increasing the sales tax.... We are not going to blame the governor. We are not going to blame the General Assembly. ... This is good for the metropolitan area. It is good for the collar counties, the suburban area. It's good for the city. It's good for employers and employees," Daley told the Chicago Tribune. Blagojevich has called for legislators to work with him to pass a multibillion-dollar construction program that would fund infrastructure projects around the state, including regional transit. The budget bill signed yesterday does not include new transit funding. Without it, regional transit authorities (including Metra and PACE) are predicting drastic service cuts and steep fare increases.
With Blagojevich seemingly in a death match with Mike Madigan and much of the General Assembly, it doesn't look like this fight will be over anytime soon. Here's hoping that Daley can come up with some funding for the CTA before the whole system comes to a screeching halt.