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Quinn's Budget Proposal Delivers Deep Cuts

By aaroncynic in News on Feb 23, 2012 3:00PM

Gov. Pat Quinn delivered his 2013 budget to the Illinois General Assembly yesterday, calling for a nine percent reduction across the board in agency spending, the closure of 59 state facilities, and at least 700 more layoffs of state employees. “Today I am proposing a budget that includes serious spending reductions and major reforms in order to restore fiscal stability to our state and build and grow our economy,” said Quinn.

Quinn's budget would slash $2.7 billion from Medicaid and calls for workgroups to look into repairing the state's pension system. The closure of 59 state facilities, including two prisons, two juvenile detention centers and mental health centers in Rockford and Tinley Park will reportedly save an estimated $88.9 million. While Quinn didn't propose any new taxes, he did say that he would look to close tax loopholes “that do not efficiently support jobs and economic growth.” The Governor hopes such loopholes would assist paying the state's pile of overdue bills, but didn't offer any other solutions to how else Illinois might start addressing that issue.

The budget will maintain current levels of funding for higher education and K-12 schools. Both the Monetary Award Program and early childhood funding will see increases of $50 million and $20 million, respectively. Mayor Rahm Emanuel applauded this in a press release, saying “I strongly support the Governor's commitment to maintain funding for education so that our children have the resources they need to learn, thrive, and succeed in the future.”

Quinn's budget has plenty of detractors. CBS reports AFSCME spokesman Anders Lindall said “Budget cuts have gone too far already, harming priorities like public safety and care for the most vulnerable. Further devastating cuts to public services and jobs are the worst possible approach to what ails our state.” The Illinois Hospital Association said in a press release that cuts to Medicaid would harm all Illinois residents, adding cuts “could have far-reaching consequences that hurt patients, communities and the health care system.”