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*** UPDATED x5 - Quinn explains his plan - Brady warns about politics - AFSCME responds - Dugan brushes aside threat - No meetings planned *** Quinn will threaten to close facilities, lay off workers

Tuesday, Sep 6, 2011

*** UPDATE 1 *** Gov. Pat Quinn is once again using the “subject to appropriations” clause to justify breaking yet another agreement with AFSCME. Quinn told reporters today that he will, indeed, propose to slash state jobs and close facilities despite his agreement last year with the union and said he has no choice because there is no appropriated money. From his remarks…

“Clearly, the budget of the General Assembly that they appropriated is going to require significant changes… All agreements are subject to the clause in Illinois law that says ’subject to appropriations’… I have to abide by the will of the General Assembly that passed a budget that requires reductions and, therefore,, we’ll have to carry those reductions out. It will be done in an orderly way according to law… The bottom line is the money isn’t there to pay for a full fiscal year unless reductions are made.”

Quinn also said he’d be open to proposals to redo the budget using increased revenues.

* Raw audio…

*** UPDATE 2 *** Sen. Bill Brady wonders if the cuts will be focused on Republican areas

“I assume it will be a political document. It will be interesting to see how many of these facilities are in areas where Democrats are running. He’s turning into a blowhard that has no credibility in the General Assembly.”

On a personal note, thanks to Brady for pointing out that the Tribune did not break this story today. Raw audio is here.

*** UPDATE 3 *** Via press release, AFSCME claims there’s a “crisis of will”…

“AFSCME has not received any notification from the Quinn Administration regarding facility closures or employee layoffs. However, we take very seriously the persistent and widespread rumors that the governor is giving serious consideration to announcing such closures and layoffs this week.

“This course of action would be in direct violation of negotiated agreements with our union. Moreover, it would have a dire impact on the maintenance of public safety and the delivery of services of vital importance to the people of Illinois.

“Illinois state government is already an extremely lean operation. Staffing levels have been cut to the bone over the past decade—and Illinois now has the lowest per capita number of employees of any state in the country. Nearly every state agency is struggling to meet its mandates. Prisons are understaffed and severely overcrowded, operating at almost 150 percent of inmate capacity. Human service caseloads have soared past any reasonable standard. Veterans homes have long waiting lists for care.

“Closures and layoffs at such a time will plunge state government into chaos.

“The Governor is apparently concerned that there is not sufficient appropriations authority to maintain services at their current level until the fiscal year ends next June. We agree that a supplemental appropriation is needed. But there is certainly not a funding crisis at this point in time. There is merely a crisis of will.

“Our state urgently needs leadership. Rather than disrupt vital services and add to Illinois’ already alarmingly high unemployment rate, the governor should work with the General Assembly to forestall service cuts and layoffs. The necessary funding is available if the legislature takes action when it returns for the veto session. The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability reports that revenue is coming in this year at higher than projected levels.

“We call on the governor and the legislative leaders to work together for the good of our state. This is not a time for partisanship or finger-pointing. It’s a time to work together to ensure that essential services to maintain public safety and meet human needs can continue to be provided. AFSCME stands ready to be part of that effort.”

*** UPDATE 4 *** If the governor thought he would stampede state legislators, he may have another thing coming, at least in the House

The rumor that Gov. Pat Quinn will issue layoff notices this week to thousands of state workers and possibly close some state facilities was met with a quick note of reassurance from state Rep. Lisa Dugan, D-Bradley.

“We understood that cuts would have to be made,” she said today. “We approved a budget that was at least $2 billion less than he asked for.'’

Then again, we’ll see what she says if Kankakee’s state hospital is put on the closure list.

*** UPDATE 5 *** From the AP

Quinn blamed the cuts on the General Assembly, saying lawmakers hadn’t appropriated enough money to cover Illinois’ expenses for the rest of the fiscal year. But Quinn says he’s willing to work with lawmakers to avoid the cuts, and he says talks will happen this week.

Neither the House Democrats nor the Senate Democrats have any meetings scheduled with the governor this week. However, I listened to the raw audio file twice and I think the governor said that he’d be rolling out his proposal this week, not that he’d be talking to legislators. Listen for yourself…

I asked the governor’s office for a comment and got this…

The Governor believes in the democratic process and will continue to work with and listen to legislators in regards to implementation of an incomplete budget. If legislators want to make adjustments to the budget they passed in May, the Governor, as always, is willing to listen.

[ *** End Of Updates *** ]

* I told subscribers about this late Friday morning

Gov. Pat Quinn plans to issue layoff notices to thousands of state workers this week as he deals with a budget shortfall he pegs in the hundreds of millions of dollars, a state government source with knowledge of the situation told the Tribune.

The governor also intends to announce the closing of several state facilities, including a prison, juvenile detention center and homes for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled, sources confirmed. Without action, Quinn’s budget office says, several agencies would run out of money by the spring.

Quinn is responding to the Democratic-controlled Legislature’s decision at the end of May to dictate this year’s budget with little input from his office. The Democratic governor maintains that lawmakers didn’t provide enough money to keep the state operating for a full year. Quinn, who asked for $2.2 billion more, already has made partial vetoes to the budget and blocked raises for thousands of state workers, a decision that’s being challenged in court by the state’s largest government employee union. The union also is expected to fight the pink slips, citing a no-layoff agreement it struck with Quinn last year. […]

Unless lawmakers step in, the prisons system won’t have enough money to pay guards, let alone feed and clothe inmates or provide proper drug addiction counseling and medical care, according to Quinn budget office estimates. There also won’t be enough cash to cover checks for workers who care for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled, or keep the doors open for a full year at state-operated residential facilities and psychiatric hospitals. The state also is struggling to cover the cost of the food stamp program and cover travel costs for workers investigating allegations of abuse or neglect. […]

Some lawmakers warn that Quinn will find little relief as state coffers remain bare despite the major income tax increase. Republican Sen. Matt Murphy, of Palatine, says the state already spends too much and needs to cut further. He said moves like shutting facilities need to happen, but that Quinn should have known that before making a campaign pledge to keep them all open.

During the campaign last year, Quinn forged an agreement with AFSCME that precluded layoffs and facility closures in return for the union to come up with budget-balancing ideas. Word is that Quinn will say that the union hasn’t held up its end of the agreement, a claim the union flatly denies.

* In a related story

The General Assembly has been forced to deal with less income from taxpayers and, as a result, has trimmed the number of public employees. But those still working in public-sector jobs are earning more, according to an Illinois Statehouse News, or ISN, analysis.

Between 2009 and 2010, lawmakers increased the paychecks of those still on the job with the state by $83 million, the ISN analysis found.

Overall, the $3.93 billion in payroll accounted for about 12 percent of the state’s operating budget for fiscal 2010, and was 2 percent higher than in fiscal 2009. Employee pay usually hovers around 10 percent of the state’s operating budget. But that does not include public university employees, whose salary data were not included in the analysis.

“That’s a problem when your revenues are not increasing, (and) we’ve got all this past-due debt that is owed by the state. There needs to be an effort to contain costs,” Tom Johnson, president of the Taxpayers Federation of Illinois, a government watchdog organization, and chairman of Gov. Pat Quinn’s Taxpayer Action Board.

Discuss.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


111 Comments
  1. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 5:31 am:

    There’s been a hard rain falling for some time now. I don’t blame Quinn for that.

    But the guy is not a CEO: he should have gone to Washington as Senator, a Chicago Irishman kicking the stuff out of those Tea Partiers eight ways til Tuesday.

    Maybe Kirk can pick up the slack when he gets back from his reserve duty Super-Duper Top-Secret meeting with Dr. Evil and the Romulans.

    I hear the sharks had lasers.


  2. - truthteller - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 5:50 am:

    When Quinn was confronted with protesters from a host of unions at Governor’s Day, he alleged that working people stood with him. Is that why he dodged Labor Day parades?
    Now as he readies to renege on yet another contractual obligation, he accuses AFSCME of not living up to its obligations under the contract.

    Is any reporter going to ask him where these supporters are or how AFSCME has violated the contract, or is he going to be allowed to continue to speak untruths to cover for his actions?

    Will the man stop at nothing?


  3. - Lester Holt's Mustache - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 6:17 am:

    It really doesn’t matter what Quinn does, the legislature (cough*Steve Brown*cough) will still pass blame to him for any budget shortfalls and AFSCME will file a lawsuit over it anyway.
    Rich - a question or three, if I may - Can Quinn just refuse to sign a new AFSCME contract next year? They didn’t support him in the last election, even though the other guy wanted to go all Scott Walker on unions. Can the current members join Teamsters or SEIU instead? I know Quinn is a labor guy, but could he just tell AFSCME “sorry, not enough money, can’t afford to do a new contract this year”? Can a union (or it’s members) sue the State for simply not signing a new contract with them?


  4. - Skeeter - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 6:27 am:

    Have to love Quinn. Budget problems? Cut prisons and housing for the mentally ill.
    Has he thought about cutting the big salaries paid to his own staff and to hacks like Gordon and Burke on whatever boards they are working for?
    Prisons? A low priority for Quinn. Hacks? Illinois can’t do without them!


  5. - State Worker - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 6:47 am:

    Maybe he should close down the Capitol and lay himself off.


  6. - Quinn_is_a_liar - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 6:53 am:

    Well we have already cut Illinois Cares RX funding in half - so we can get those horrible old people off the rolls, no medications for them. Thats right, and lets screw the public by means of closing prisons. And we can’t leave out the developmentally disabled and mentallly ill — because they need assistance from their state also. Let’s hit those least able to look out for themselves. Hey, and while we are at it lets make sure we fire those folks that actually work in these difficult jobs. While it’s clear the state is in trouble - has he bothered to educate the public and explain that we (the State of Illinois) already rank last per capita in the ratio of employees serving the number of citizens we have. Nah — why confuse folks with facts.


  7. - Wensicia - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 7:09 am:

    If the governor says the state can’t afford to keep necessary institutions open, what can it afford? I’d like to know what’s more important.


  8. - Gregor - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 7:21 am:

    A little late to play this poker hand, after the other players have already seen it.


  9. - OneMan - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 7:28 am:

    Seems to me this coupled with anything that delays the casinos is going to cause him some real issues…

    Prisoners released while Quinn waited…


  10. - Cheswick - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 7:56 am:

    I thought revenues, not counting the income tax increase, were up.

    It’s not hard to get the impression that the people in power still think they can do anything and get away with it. (I feel like I should put a LOL there…)


  11. - Aldyth - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 8:31 am:

    A lot of those state facilities for individuals with developmental disabilities should have been closed years ago. Most of the people served could have been moved to community agencies at a far lower cost than keeping them in the large institutions. Illinois could probably get by with one state facility for individuals who have behaviors that are too dangerous for community settings and move the rest to community agencies.

    Of course, common sense has little to do with how things actually work in Illinois.


  12. - Cincinnatus - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 8:31 am:

    I have said for months that the union leadership ill serves the members. Here is a prime example. It was not the rank and file who made agreements (often reneged) with Quinn. It was the union leadership.

    Instead of working with Quinn to forgo raises and institute REAL efficiency measures to reduce government costs, the leadership cut too-cute-by-half deals with Quinn. Now, instead of a measured approach to staffing and costs, we will see willy nilly workforce cuts using who knows what criteria. Wanna bet that the most needed public employees will be the first recommended to be cut, and used as blackmail of the legislators? Wanna bet that the top-heavy cronies will be excluded?

    The rank and file better start taking a strong look at their leadership, and consider the people that the leaders support. Perhaps it is time to look around, and choose another course.


  13. - OneMan - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 8:33 am:

    Cincinnatus if I were a union member and my leadership cut a deal that involved me not losing my job I would have been fairly happy…


  14. - Cincinnatus - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 8:38 am:

    Yes, One Man, I guess at one time many of the workers did not think Quinn was what I call a “Convenient Politician,” one who will say or do anything to keep his ambitions alive. I guess Quinn’s constant flip-flops, lies, and fabrications, along with his bumbling style, took the bloom off that rose, huh?


  15. - Leatherneck - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 8:46 am:

    Are the affected departments the same ones whose raises were denied in July (e.g., Revenue, Historic Preservation, plus Corrections and Juvenile Justice), or will it also affect other agencies under the Governor whose workers still received their raises (as they supposedly have enough money to last the fiscal year)? Could the constitutional officers also be affected by this layoff/closure order?


  16. - Fed up - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 8:49 am:

    I cannot believe Quinn would break a campaign promise that’s just not like him. He is a man of his word.


  17. - Fed up - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 8:51 am:

    Wordslinger,

    Nice attempt to turn another Quinn failure into an attack on Kirk. Desperate and sad.


  18. - Flamining Liberal - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 8:53 am:

    Who could of ever predicted, that the labor unions and the Democrats in Illinois could ever get to this spot. Each day I grow more concerned for the future of the Democratic party in Illinois and nationally.


  19. - Fed up - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 8:53 am:

    I bet Ed Burkes daughter keeps her job.


  20. - He Makes Ryan Look Like a Saint - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 9:01 am:

    They say history repeats itself, well Quinn learned from Dan Walker and we have the Dan Walker administration all over again.

    I believe it is common practice to not fully fund the budget for salaries, it is up to the Governor to manage it. Apparently he can’t manage a budget. You cannot simply void a contract because you want to. He will lose this battle.

    How about cutting Kids care that is about $250 million. Look at some of the other programs that has been put in since Blago. They are nice but we cannot afford them anymore.


  21. - Small Town Liberal - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 9:22 am:

    - Wanna bet that the most needed public employees will be the first recommended to be cut, and used as blackmail of the legislators? Wanna bet that the top-heavy cronies will be excluded? -

    Cinci, do you really think there are enough top-heavy cronies working in state government to make up the kind of numbers we’re talking about here? Get a clue, the reason the most needed public employees are going to be the first cut is because that’s what most public employees are. Prison guards, human service providers, public safety workers, teachers, that’s where the money is. I don’t necessarily agree with Quinn’s approach, but stop pretending like there are easy options to fix the situation, there aren’t.


  22. - OneMan - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 9:25 am:

    Nothing like jerking over your base… But Wordslinger is right, this is all obviously somehow Kirk’s fault, just like that double in the top of the 8th was Krik’s fault last night


  23. - Humbled one! - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 9:29 am:

    There’s a flower called Integrity,
    In the lofty heights it grows-
    The faint of heart can’t find it
    those of strong resolve understand & know.
    The time has come to scale that mountain
    To fetch the flower with fragrance sweet…
    Returning then to share with all
    Then alone will the journey be complete.

    Retrieve the Flower people!!


  24. - cover - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 9:30 am:

    “Saint” @ 9:01 am, the state can’t roll back what’s left of the Blago health care expansions, the feds have locked states into the eligibility criteria that were in place in March 2010, the day President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act. Even such common-sense, bipartisan Medicaid reforms passed by the General Assembly earlier this year - stricter income and residency verification - have been rejected by the feds. There is no way the feds would approve a rollback of eligibility standards.

    Illinois could go ahead anyway, and see if the feds are willing to withhold Medicaid matching funds. But that’s a far bigger game of chicken than what is going on with AFSCME right now, so I just don’t see that happening.


  25. - Bill Baar - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 9:42 am:

    Makes Walker and Wisconsin look pretty good.


  26. - Loop Lady - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 9:43 am:

    Once again state employees along with those who can’t fend for themselves bear the brunt of the pain for a lack of leadership in the state of IL.

    Unions rank and file members are waking up to the fact that the Democratic Party including President Obama can’t afford to care about their issues anymore…it’s un-American to be pro-union these days…thanks Tea Partiers…le’t go back to the days when women in the garment industry had to jump to their deaths because the boss locked ‘em up in the sweatshop…that’s the America these idiots want…I guess they would say that at least they were employed when they died…


  27. - Buck - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 9:47 am:

    Shouldn’t we listen to what the flower people say?


  28. - Secret Square - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 9:47 am:

    “the state can’t roll back what’s left of the Blago health care expansions”

    Actually, they have. As of July 1, All Kids now has an income limit of 300% of FPL where there used to be no limit. Any family on All Kids that makes more than 300% FPL has until next June 30 to find other coverage. Totally state funded medical assistance programs that don’t get federal Medicaid match CAN, apparently, be changed or rolled back if the state chooses.


  29. - Bill Baar - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 9:51 am:

    @cover re Even such common-sense, bipartisan Medicaid reforms passed by the General Assembly earlier this year - stricter income and residency verification - have been rejected by the feds. Have some cites to back up those rejections? I’d appreciate that


  30. - Ghost - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 9:52 am:

    In the much vaunted “private sector” cost containment usually does not translate to pay cuts or even freezes. If you look at companies with 50k or more employees, and even the bankrupt banking industry, and the bankrupt tribune, they continue to pay raises and bnuses to people.

    The reaosn is simple, a trained employee with historical knowledge and experience is a valuable resource. As we try to cover operation with fewer bodies you want to hold onto experieced employees and managers. The managers make sure you are getting producivity from the employees after all :)

    This is why private sector companies continue to pay and provide incentive to keep managers and top employees even during a bankruptcy.

    Also, the States cost cutting makes little sense. You ave revenue generating agencies, such as those who do fines like EPA, DFPR, or audits like from Revenue. When was the last time you saw a business cut money from its income generating operations? If a business needs more money it expands income generating activities, it doesnt cut them.

    The GeneralAssembly should increase the budegt and hiring at any agency where an employee can bring in more money then they cost the State from fines, collections etc. Instead of cutting staff we need to add staff where they produce more money then they cost.

    If adding enforcement people to


  31. - formerpolitico - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 10:03 am:

    Do the unions get it?? The state is broke. Sue the state for breach of contract and you will get a piece of paper - a judgment, that you can put on your wall. A Judge can’t order the state to print money or to issue payroll checks that will bounce. It’s the same as in the private sector when a company is broke. Deal with it, and stop whining. Annual pay increases are not sustainable.


  32. - Bruno Behrend - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 10:08 am:

    All the chickens are coming home to roost.

    http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2011/09/05/rhode-island-pension-system-collapsing/#comment-41828

    Years ago, when all the smart people were Pro-Const. Convention, I was telling anyone who would listen that necessary government services were going be crowded out by public employee greed.

    The fact is that IL can not avoid the massive public sector layoffs or cutbacks that will be needed to return to sanity. We should have taken that path in 2008.

    Given that pension benefits, no matter how unsustainable, are guaranteed, the only solution is to make every public employee and pensioner not yet on Medicare to pay as much for their health care as they can afford.

    Call it “Shared Sacrifice.”


  33. - zatoichi - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 10:13 am:

    Close the state residential facilities - excellent plan. Now look on the community side. Are there beds available and organizations willing to take on more difficult people at the rates currently being offered? Anyone have a guess how many beds are available in the community with the Willams Consent decree and the other court mandated residential programs coming up? If it costs $165,000 to live in the state facilities, can the community settings provide the needed support systems not to mention staff salaries when paid less than $65,000? Check the staff turnover rates of many residential programs. Not exactly the best paid positions. Some pretty heavy local economic hits coming to communities that have state facilities. DHS discusses ‘Money follows the person’. Reality is some money follows the person, not all. It is going to take more than a couple of years to build up the community residential options to handle the people being discussed.


  34. - Abigail Hoffman - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 10:20 am:

    The Governor should tell Illinoisans and employers of Illinoisans to stop paying fed income taxes; send that dough to Springfield.

    Batack blows it on military occupations.


  35. - Soccertease - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 10:23 am:

    Can’t believe the Quinn folks can keep a straight face proposing cuts/layoffs. Nobody believes this. I’ve read the terms poker face, chess match, bluff, etc. in every article about this topic. Maybe if just once IL leaders did something because it was the right thing to do instead of this gamesmanship we might like the result.


  36. - OneMan - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 10:25 am:

    Perhaps he will just turn stuff over to counties to do and not bother paying people.


  37. - Shemp - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 10:28 am:

    We’vce brought this on ourselves. Repeatedly electing people who couldn’t look 10 years down the road and see all the contracts and expansions that were passed were unsustainable. And until real pension, collective bargaining, and ILRB reform takes place, the cost of labor is going to kill this state. We’ll cut prisons, mental health, aid to the poor, delay school aid etc before we make current employees work a few extra years or freeze COLAs and steps for a year or 2. Unreal, but people apparently wanted it, and now they’ve got it.


  38. - Konrad O'Nack - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 10:30 am:

    (1) Quadruple state taxes on pay-tv schemes; (2) Expand slot machine distribution; (3) License all selling lotto tickets to sell marijuana.


  39. - Moe - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 10:32 am:

    Come on, Shemp. I didn’t cause this or bring it on.


  40. - Thoughts... - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 10:33 am:

    Bill Baar - Here’s a cite re: Medicaid elgibility and verification signed into law and rejected by the feds: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/clout/chi-feds-say-no-to-quinn-on-tightening-medicaid-proof-20110719,0,6804492.story


  41. - Curly - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 10:33 am:

    Me neither, Shemp.


  42. - Thoughts... - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 10:37 am:

    I’m a strong union supporter. I won’t comment on all of Quinn’s plan until I see it, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s about time we closed a prison or two.

    First, the prison system is clogged with nonviolent drug offenders, which is a national disgrace as far as I’m concerned.

    Second, prison expansion in the 70s, 80s, and 90s was a Republican jobs program. Nearly all, if not all, of the prisons were put in strong Republican areas, and are staffed by Republican members of AFSCME, especially the guards. The whole jobs program was predicated on the war on drugs, back to my first point, and to ensure solid Republican support for generations in the areas with prisons. It’s time for that jobs program to end, and to start real jobs programs.


  43. - OneMan - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 10:41 am:

    Thoughts…

    If you think it is going to just be a non-violent drug guys who are released I have an AFSCME agreement I want to sell you. Keep in mind this is the same governor who stopped all early release for everyone (even non-violent guys) after even a small wiff of an issue.


  44. - Larry - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 10:42 am:

    Keep me outta dis, Shemp.


  45. - GetOverIt - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 10:46 am:

    Okay, so if the Gov lays off all state employees, where are we in terms of our deficit? May I suggest, in deep water…

    Layoffs impact more than those losing their jobs…think restaurants, clothing/electronic stores, home repair businesses, etc… No work, no spending, no consumer confidence, no tax revenue…which all equals NO IMPROVEMENT…


  46. - anon - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 10:55 am:

    If AFSCME continues to demand pay raises with money the state does not have, I suspect many jobs will be cut. This is likely the beginning. I also agree with Thoughts.


  47. - Thoughts... - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 10:56 am:

    OneMan-

    I don’t think any closure or releases will be carried out perfectly. To think so would be inane. But, I stand by my comment. If we did release all non-violent drug offenders, we’d have an overabundance of space in the prison system, ergo no need to keep them all open. No change works perfectly the first time and if we wait for the perfect, we’ll end up in the same place or worse.


  48. - LN - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 11:08 am:

    @Loop Lady–I think you’ve gone a bit loopy. Do you really think that if unions no longer existed in America OSHA would just stop enforcing workplace safety laws? No. Back when workplace safety was non-existant unions absolutely were the driving force in making sure employees were not putting themselves in danger by coming to work every day, and rightly so. But now they’re only concerned with making sure wages go up and Democrats get elected. I’m so sick of this “tea-partiers want bad workplace conditions!” argument; tea-partiers want balanced budgets and decreased spending, which is NOT going to happen if unions continue asking for pay raises.


  49. - Joe Blow - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 11:10 am:

    I was looking at the payroll (it is all available online now) for a state agency I use to work for a few years ago and I could not believe my eyes. Some of the most bloated salaries ever! Check out the DCEO salaries. Many are in the $70-100k range. If this is similar to other state agencies then it is time to burn down the forest to get rid of the dead wood!


  50. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 11:13 am:

    ===if unions no longer existed in America OSHA would just stop enforcing workplace safety laws? No. ===

    Don’t be so naive.


  51. - murray - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 11:20 am:

    Has anyone looked at what a state government must do and work from those tasks?—-No,this is Illinois and as a corrupt state,we accept our elected leaders not yet indicted or incarcerated to hold on to their pet cash cows regardless of common sense.Unfortunately they are supported by organized labor declaring war against the Repubs or the Civic Federation seeking to further the agenda of anybody who is worth a lot of money. Seems we need a new outlook.


  52. - Rod - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 11:20 am:

    zatoichi has it right. Not for profit providers of community based care simply do not have the capacity to take any significant number of de-institutionalized people with either mental illness or developmental disabilities. Moving fast will create chaos.

    On closing prisions, I will agree that too many people are going to prison for drug violations alone, but in Chicago there are hundreds also going to jail for violent crimes directly related to the drug trade. This is not a simple issue.


  53. - Loop Lady - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 11:22 am:

    LN: Oh yeah, I see the OSHA guys checking out my workplace all the time…get real…you have to be accountable for your positions even when witless windbags like Walsh, Palin and Perry wear the jacket for your version of America…


  54. - bored now - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 11:26 am:

    shouldn’t we be making these cuts in republican served areas? after all, they are the ones arguing for severe spending cuts; you’d think they would be welcoming these cuts, not protesting them…


  55. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 11:31 am:

    –On closing prisions, I will agree that too many people are going to prison for drug violations alone, but in Chicago there are hundreds also going to jail for violent crimes directly related to the drug trade. This is not a simple issue.–

    It’s not a simple issue, that is correct. But taking marijuana out of the mix by legalizing it — like beer — would be pretty simple except for the Reefer Madness folks out there.

    It would also deliver a tremendous blow to the violent drug cartels operating on both sides of our southern border. They are more of a threat to more Americans than any desperadoes roaming the Khyber Pass.

    Marijuana is the biggest, albeit illegal, cash crop in many states. Let’s get real and move on.


  56. - Small Town Liberal - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 11:34 am:

    - The necessary funding is available if the legislature takes action when it returns for the veto session. -

    - “We call on the governor and the legislative leaders to work together for the good of our state. -

    Not quite the vitriol as when Quinn announced the raise freeze. Maybe Quinn’s tactic is getting AFSCME on board with pressuring the GA.


  57. - Bman - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 11:41 am:

    Quinn continues to play a shell game. At any given time no matter who you are the pea is not under your shell


  58. - Ghost - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 11:45 am:

    Every budget debat about the State assumes it just consumes revenue.

    erhaps smone needs to start talking about the ways the State already generates reveneu, and ways to expand its revenue generation besides increasing taxes.


  59. - Shemp - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 11:47 am:

    ===if unions no longer existed in America OSHA would just stop enforcing workplace safety laws? No. ===

    ====Don’t be so naive.====

    What’s so naive? I’ve had to deal with OSHA, NIOSH, and IDOL in my work. I have a family member that makes a living inspecting work sites for his employer just to proactively avoid problems with OSHA and other regulatory agencies.


  60. - JCTRambler - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 11:52 am:

    Newsflash: It costs money to run a state with 13 million people. For the past 20+ years we had the lowest state income tax among states that have one. Even now, with the “massive state income tax increase” means wealthy people pay less than Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, and Arkansas.


  61. - soccermom - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 11:52 am:

    Please — no more song references. This is two mindworms already this morning. Between Lady Gaga and Spinal Tap, I am losing my mind… “Aaaaaaah, listen, it’s growing louder every day…” “My my my poker face my my poker face…”


  62. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 12:10 pm:

    Money can be appropriated however they want to make their adjenda work. How can we have the money last week to appropriate $30.5 million to build and renovate 14 community health centers throughout Illinois? Obviously paying and maintaining workers is not the priority, but it could be. The State has a contract with AFSCME. If anyone is to ever trust the State of Illinois to fulfil contracts, they need to appropriate to fulfill all contracts, including those with their workers. Either that or make the state slogan be “do business with Illinois, but don’t expect us to honor our contracts with you!”


  63. - OneMan - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 12:16 pm:

    thoughts –

    So what is non-violent drug offender. Is it a user, a dealer, someone who got caught near a school selling or holding?


  64. - mokenavince - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 12:26 pm:

    It’s very comforting we have a person like Quinn
    to navigate us thru troubled waters. Let loose as many criminals as possible,don’t pay vendors,and don’t sign the gaming bill.How can anyone stand for him ,because he stands for nothing.Without MJM he’s lost.


  65. - hisgirlfriday - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 12:33 pm:

    Is it petty of me to hope that all the state facilities announced to be closed by Quinn are in the districts of the wrongheaded folks that refused to approve a new borrowing deal that would have saved the state money?

    Quinn shouldn’t have made promises with the unions that he knew he couldn’t keep, but haven’t we been talking about closing some of these facilities for 10 years now?

    I feel bad for the people who are losing jobs and services out of the deal and I am willing to pay more in taxes to keep those jobs and services in this state but…

    I don’t think there’s enough out there like me.


  66. - Louis G. Atsaves - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 12:34 pm:

    No one should worry about a thing. As soon as those nearly doubled tolls hit in January, 120,000 permanent jobs will be created, all of whom will pay taxes and save the State of Illinois Government from bankruptcy!

    Right?


  67. - OneMan - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 12:36 pm:

    Governor, if this budget was so short appropriations then why did you sign it?


  68. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 12:42 pm:

    ===Shouldn’t we listen to what the flower people say?===

    Yes, we should. The world would be a better place.


  69. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 12:48 pm:

    Maybe Sen. Brady should dust off that detailed budget plan he campaigned on for governor. Or the one he introduced last session.

    Of course cuts will happen in “Republican” areas. Those 98 counties…..


  70. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 12:49 pm:

    ===Maybe Kirk can pick up the slack when he gets back from his reserve duty Super-Duper Top-Secret meeting with Dr. Evil and the Romulans.===

    word, even I think you are being too tough on Kirk today. I told you that his meeting with the Romulans was a few weeks ago. Lately, he was “Sitting in our commander’s briefs for two weeks, talking to our Headquarters’ leaders and spending a few days in the field….”

    While that might raise questions as to what “commander’s briefs” look like, it should clarify that the Romulans were no where in sight.


  71. - Gregor - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 12:57 pm:

    Quinn is getting horrible advice from his staff, is all I can figure. Probably need to fire all those folks, but replace then with what?

    Oh, BTW Rich, the correct usage of the phrase is: “Has another THINK coming.” Not “thing”, but “Think”. Common error, but the common mis-use makes the phrase meaningless. You thought about something, in order to tell you that you should re-think it, you are told you have one more opportunity to re-consider it, ergo: “You have another think coming (to you). Arguing grammar and usage is so much more rewarding than arguing the budget, which has and always will boil down to: people want everything for free, and politicians promise to give it to them, because they lack the stones to ask for the revenues required.

    /end grammar Nazi mode/


  72. - OneMan - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 12:58 pm:

    It turns out the flower people just walk on by… However as a solution Pat Quinn is proposing that you just Gimme Some Money


  73. - Generation X - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 1:27 pm:

    Palin, Perry, Walsh nor the Tea Party has anything to do with Quinn reneging on a legally binding agreement. If any state has been immune to the tea party influence it is Illinois. It isn’t Scott Walker’s problem or Kasich or any other Tea Party boogeyman. This is Quinn and the General Assembly’s issue and no drive by slogan throwing is going to change that.


  74. - OneMan - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 1:32 pm:

    The Governor believes in the democratic process and will continue to work with and listen to legislators in regards to implementation of an incomplete budget. If legislators want to make adjustments to the budget they passed in May, the Governor, as always, is willing to listen.

    Then why did you sign an incomplete budget?


  75. - He Makes Ryan Look Like a Saint - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 1:35 pm:

    There has been Governor’s staff that are a HECK of a lot smarter than Quinn’s staff. Why didn’t they use this clause as a way out of contracts in the past when the budget was bad?

    Why do they even spend the time negotiating a Union Contract when they can give them anything they want and pull this card out?

    Basically by using this as an out means NO contract with the state of Illinois is viable. They should be ashamed of themselves.


  76. - Layoff management first - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 1:37 pm:

    Too many people are receiving a pension and are hired back on a contract. The BGA investigative report listed a couple of double dippers. They are like a flashback or bad dream and never go away. There are too many managers and administrators, many of who do little, if any work. If 75% of the management were laid off, the state would be more efficient and have a better culture for consumers and employees alike. Closing management and administrative facilities in Chicago or Springfield would save a lot of money. Administrative facilities in both locations may not be necessary. Most of government needs to reinforce working instead of dependence. For instance, a fined based correctional system such as many European countries (and traffic court here) may better serve non-violent offenders and the public. Indiana removed troopers from the casinos and made them highway patrol as a primary mission to save money.


  77. - Leroy - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 1:44 pm:

    Praise God that Brady isn’t governor trying to do this….the rhetoric would be DEAFENING if he was the one wielding the axe here.


  78. - Larry Mullholland - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 2:02 pm:

    Dear Gov. Quinn:

    What is the status of the 750 Unqualified Blago Hacks you said you wanted to fire? Are they still on the State’s Payroll? Are they still in exempt positions that allow you to fire at will? Are these ‘expendable blago hacks’ working at agencies that you are now planning layoffs? Wouldn’t make more sense to fire those $100k$ Blago people you have said you wanted to fire before rank and file staffers making much less in salary?

    I realize, Gov Quinn, that you said you wanted to fire the 750 Blago pple during the run up to your election effort, just prior to signing contract negotiations with ASFCME, you know the one that led to their endorsement of your campaign for Governor, but the people may have thought those promises were truthful. Can you comment Governor Quinn? Governor? Gov…….?


  79. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 2:06 pm:

    Are all subject to appropriations of the current general assembly. That clause is part of all contracts.


  80. - soccermom - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 2:13 pm:

    Thanks, Gregor. That was bugging me.


  81. - Loop Lady - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 2:18 pm:

    IL has been immune to the Tea Party influence? Really? Because you say so? Please tell me how Walsh got elected to Congress by a bunch of liberal Dems…the point is that it is open season on unions and the Republican party most noteably the Tea partiers are leading the charge…it is way less politically dangerous these days even for Dems to go against the unions …I’m not saying that union members shouldn’t share the economic pain,( and they have in IL and elsewhere) but they shouldn’t be made to feel criminal for wanting all parties concerned to honor a labor contract…


  82. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 2:20 pm:

    Gregor, I didn’t believe you at first, then I checked out the only source that matters — Judas Priest lyrics:

    “Out there is a fortune waitin’ to be had
    If you think I’ll let it go you’re mad
    You’ve got another think comin’.”

    Thanks for the grammar lesson.


  83. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 2:27 pm:

    From the Boston Globe…

    ===In a Nexis news search, “another thing coming” dominates 21st-century usage by nearly 2 to 1; a Google search gives it a 6 to 1 advantage.

    ===And many people today have never heard “another think coming” (or think they haven’t, anyway). One of them, posting to a Web discussion, is astonished to hear that “thing” might be an error: “So, what you guys are saying is that this expression I’ve used my entire life, which is used throughout the Western U.S. and by everyone I know, as well as by Judas Priest, is wrong?”

    ===He has a point: If everyone says “another thing coming,” it won’t be wrong. And it’s not surprising that nobody minds its lack of meaning; we’re used to idioms we can no longer decode, like kick the bucket and all the rage.===

    http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2008/05/04/the_think_thing/?page=2


  84. - OneMan - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 2:27 pm:

    Pat Quinn using the tea party as cover, wow I guess I must have held my breath too long when I was swimming today, only logical explanation of that one.


  85. - Michelle Flaherty - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 2:37 pm:

    I know a good time for Quinn to address all of this.
    His budget speech. It’s only about 5 months away.
    Judging by his last performance, he’s going to need every minute of every day.


  86. - Generation X - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 2:54 pm:

    Loop Lady

    In a 2010 Republican landslide nationall, Illinois Democrats maintained the Hous, Senate and Governorship. I’d say that equals mostly immune to the Tea Party wave. Quinn has gone further than any Republican counterparts, and it is not even close. Pushing pension changes mid-stream, decertifying some titles, withholding legally entitled raises and now lay offs. You are 100% correct that the unions should get all that was bargained for in good faith and contractually obligated. Where you are wrong is that the unions in Illinois should thank the Tea Party for these unlawful actions. No I think Pat Quinn made all these decisions without one thought to the Tea Party or Conservatives in general. He owns this mess period.


  87. - langhorne - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 3:05 pm:

    quinn has no credibility making budget threats, tha’ts clear. there are two other elements: no numbers from quinn to use as benchmarks to frame the argument (we are short $1B or $2B or whatever); and starting the clock when it all crashes (money runs out the end of april or whenever). if he would deal w those elements, he would frame the debate. it is pointless to harangue legislators to fix a problem of vague form that he is threatening to exacerbate w layoffs earlier than necessary. and oh yeah, anything done before jan 1 requires an impossible 3/5 vote. nice work, quinny.


  88. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 3:11 pm:

    And we all thought that Scott Walker was so BAD

    Wake up Illinois Voters and take your State Back


  89. - Happy Returns - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 3:11 pm:

    I hate Illinois grammar Nazis.


  90. - formerpolitico - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 3:24 pm:

    Far worse grammatical error is the phrase “where are you at” or similar use of the redundant preposition “at”. It instantly marks the speaker as a boor. Just say, “Where are you”, or We will find out where we are”.


  91. - Loop Lady - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 3:40 pm:

    Gen X I agree that he owns it, I’m just telling you that he is sticking his finger in the wind and he doesn’t think there will be repercussions…he is dead wrong…he is toast…


  92. - Lefty Lefty - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 3:43 pm:

    Do the righties have any other ideas to balance the state budget than to continue knee-jerk union bashing? Have they tried to deal with Springfield lately? Staff at the places I have to deal with has been cut for 3 years or more. Another friend of mine just lost his job with the U of I extension. We have one of the smallest government workforces in the country already. None of them are rich.


  93. - Generation X - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 3:57 pm:

    I’m not sure what he is doing to be honest with you. He drops this bomb around labor day? Are you kidding me? He cannot effectively argue he is a friend of labor or the working person at this point. I agree he is toast and I would imagine Henry Bayer and other leaders are getting a ton of angry feedback from their members. I’m not sure how much longer they can maintain the party line. The troops have to be getting very restless


  94. - Peter Snarker - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 3:59 pm:

    With state contractual payments so late to medical providers, human services providers, with the state abrogating “deals” and/or “contracts” with its unions… all based on “no revenue appropriated” (ie., our contracts are only valid and enforceable if we later agree to appropriate the money)… well here sir is the genius solution to all of Illinois budget problems -

    - the GA simply appropriates NO money anywhere next year. Sorry everyone, state problems are solved - no one in line for anything from the state, all your contracts are void, we’re starting over!

    Right? I mean, isnt that the logical extension of this?


  95. - Cincinnatus - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 4:00 pm:

    - Lefty Lefty - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 3:43 pm:

    “Do the righties have any other ideas to balance the state budget than to continue knee-jerk union bashing?”

    Sure we do, lots of them and none of them involve bashing the public service worker. I feel sorry for these folks whose union leadership, and their sycophantic support of the Democrats, have gotten them into this pickle.


  96. - Coach - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 4:16 pm:

    === Far worse grammatical error is the phrase “where are you at” or similar use of the redundant preposition “at”. ===

    Just drop the “are” and the “at” is no longer redundant: Where you at?


  97. - dwilliams - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 5:35 pm:

    How about cuts that make sense ie; no more state employees driving state vehichles home, auction off most of the states vehichle fleet, transport inmates in passenger cars instead of 15 passenger vans, stop transferring inmates around the state just because they would like to be somewhere else, have one warden per prison, get rid of correctioal majors who make upwards of 114k and have the lietenants (they already do it part time) do it for a lot less$$$$. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Any comments welcome.


  98. - Ain't No Justice - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 5:53 pm:

    Can the union, since the Gov. broke the contract, go on strike? As far as the Blago hires, it isn’t going to happen. Being fired for your politics is against the law…..only if your a democrat.


  99. - Ain't No Justice - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 5:57 pm:

    There are MANY good ideas on this blog to make sound budget cuts, but unfortunately “they” just won’t MAN-UP and do it. From vehicle cuts, unneccessary travel, to top heavy management (DHS, etc.), they are all viable ideas. Why can’t our Governor and legislators do the right thing!


  100. - Give Me A Break - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 7:04 pm:

    Just wanted make Rich happy and push this over the 100 comment count.


  101. - Responsa - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 7:39 pm:

    ==Just wanted make Rich happy and push this over the 100 comment count==

    Ah, but did you read the fine print? I believe Rich is required to provide healthcare for commenters after he reaches 100.


  102. - wishbone - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 7:51 pm:

    Another vote for walking away from the stupid war on drugs. Today’s drug dealer is no different than a bartender was in 1929. Legalize, tax and provide medical help to abusers. Just like alcohol. Of course, the biggest selling illegal drug of all is not addictive.


  103. - park - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 8:39 pm:

    Funny thing is, this action is exactly the kind of thing that a good manager would do in a crisis. But PQ used it to commit a fraud on the workers. He was willing to do or say anything to get elected. Now he’s just a lying hypocrite. Too bad.

    Illinois D’s never cease to amaze. AFSCME members…vote R next time. Or look even dumber.


  104. - AJ - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 8:57 pm:

    Where are all the new revenues going? Income tax hike….the recently inflated fees…..etc.,etc.,etc. Every Illinoisian is paying more for government services……where is the money going, why have we not the money to pay our state employees? Shouldn’t the politicians be working to save jobs whether they are in state government or at Sears….


  105. - dave - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 9:30 pm:

    **AFSCME members…vote R next time.**

    LOL. Bill Brady would have been SO much better.


  106. - Give Me A Break - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 9:49 pm:

    If were Brady were Gov, there would be no notice given, he would send the ISP to the facilities tell them evict everyone and lock the doors. LOL


  107. - steve schnorf - Tuesday, Sep 6, 11 @ 10:33 pm:

    AJ, if you don’t know you are in the wrong place


  108. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 7, 11 @ 1:28 am:

    ===I believe Rich is required to provide healthcare for commenters after he reaches 100. ===

    That’s 500.


  109. - Mark - Wednesday, Sep 7, 11 @ 6:01 am:

    AFSCME is building a lot of ill will by fighting for increases in this economic climate. There’s no money. Be happy you have a job and are not being outsourced. All you are doing is drawing attention to your past large wage and benefit increases and current greed. Quinn might not be honoring the agreement but he is a big time union supporter. Time to look at outsourcing to bring down the cost of state government. We are in a very serious financial situation in Illinois. My advice to anyone who doesn’t own a home, don’t buy one, if the situation deteriorates you can just pick up and move to another state.


  110. - PoliGeek - Wednesday, Sep 7, 11 @ 7:15 am:

    If we can’t afford to keep our operations going, then what the crap did we just have a huge tax increase for?


  111. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Sep 7, 11 @ 1:20 pm:

    Joe Blow, I think you are on to something. What EXACTLY does DCEO do? Hmmmmmm….


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        * Department of Insurance Announces Multi-State Settlement with Symetra Life Insurance and Symetra National Life Insurance Company - Illinois will share part of a $1.2 million penalty against Symetra Life regarding Life Insurance policies
        * Avoid Foodborne Illness This Holiday Season




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