Illinois Lawmakers Reprioritize Gov. Pat Quinn’s Illinois Human Services Budget

(Springfield, IL) — Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and former Republican Gov. Jim Edgar may have different political views, but Quinn is dealing with a similar, but bigger, challenge than Edgar tackled during his tenure as governor.

Edgar faced a nearly $2 billion deficit in 1991. Quinn assumed office in 2009, inheriting a more than $13 billion deficit. Edgar left office in 1999 with a $1.5 billion surplus, crediting his success to raising the temporary tax which later became permanent, cutting state spending and saying “no” to new programs.

“That took time, and it took discipline,” Edgar said. “The governor, I think, has to provide that leadership. It’s hard for the legislature to do that.”

Quinn’s administration isn’t hoping for a budget surplus, but is expecting fiscal stability following proposed spending reductions and recent personal and corporate income tax increases.

Quinn’s proposed $35.4 billion spending plan for fiscal year 2012 aggressively slashes the overall human services budget by about $412 million, or 11 percent, one of the deepest reductions compared to other areas. For instance, the state’s transportation budget saw a 86 percent reduction, or $67 million, according to Quinn’s proposed agency funding figures.

However, other departments saw state funding increases, including:

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Dan Rutherford, Judy Baar Topinka Divided on Short-Term Borrowing to Pay Illinois’ Overdue Bills

(Springfield, IL) — Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford and Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka can both agree on a plan to merge their offices, but short-term borrowing is a different thing.

Republicans opposed Gov. Pat Quinn‘s plan to borrow $8.75 billion to help the state pay off its debt of $9 billion to $10 billion. Quinn wants to borrow $2 billion in short-term loans to help pay the state’s backlog of bills.

Any short-term borrowing must win the OK from both financial offices.

Rutherford, a Republican, met privately with Quinn, a Democrat, and his budget office staff. Rutherford said he told the governor he doesn’t approve of a multi-billion dollar borrowing plan, which would require repayment with interest at the end of 14 years.

“I told him I don’t support the $8.7 billion borrowing plan; 14-year payment ballooned at the end,” Rutherford said. “I said ‘I don’t support any of that stuff, but I will work with you on short-term borrowing, which I can either sign-off on that or not.’”

States were provided with about $80 billion from the federal stimulus fund, which provides an enhanced Medicaid match rate to hospitals and nursing homes if states make payments within 30 days. Since March 31, Illinois’ match dropped from 59 percent to 57 percent early this month. By July 1, the match will drop to 50 percent.

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