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Quinn Signs Budget, Wants Pension Reform & DCFS Funding

By Amy Cavanaugh in News on Jul 1, 2012 4:00PM

2012_6_12_quinn.jpg Gov. Pat Quinn signed a $33.7 billion state spending plan yesterday that closes or consolidates 57 state correctional, juvenile justice, and department of human service facilities. That move sliced $57 million from state spending, which Quinn wants to go toward the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), from which lawmakers plan to cut $50 million. He spoke at a news conference yesterday:

"Are we going to keep outdated, half-full facilities, which were fully funded by the legislators… or are we going to invest and make sure we protect vulnerable children? We need to make sure we protect our children in Illinois through the Department of Children and Family Services. We cannot afford to have literally hundreds of workers there who deal with child abuse let go, and we maintain facilities that are half-empty."

While the budget cuts spending, pays bills, and reforms Medicaid, Quinn is insisting that something be done about pension reform. The Tribune reported that though the overall budget is "comparable to what the state spent five years ago, the amount earmarked for pensions has roughly tripled during that time, from about $1.7 billion to nearly $5.3 billion." Quinn said:

"We just simply cannot afford this. The squeeze is on our money, our allocations for education, for human services, for health care, for public safety. Less and less of the percentage of our budget will go to those important causes if we don't reform our pension system."

When the legislature returns in November after the election, Quinn plans to ask for lawmakers to restore DCFS funding.