* From a press release…
Governor Quinn today cut Illinois’ Fiscal Year 2015 state budget, zeroing out $250 million for renovations of the state Capitol. In addition, as part of his ongoing budget review, the Governor directed state agencies to identify additional efficiencies, including selling nearly half of the state’s aircraft.
Last week, the Governor announced more than $55 million in efficiencies including reduced parking and reduced leases. Since taking office, Governor Quinn has cut state spending by more than $5.7 billion and today’s action continues the Governor’s commitment to making state government more efficient and accountable to taxpayers.
“While legislators didn’t do their job on the budget, I will continue to do mine,” Governor Quinn said. “Reducing the budget and identifying additional efficiencies will help minimize the impact of cuts in vital services and maintain our hard-won fiscal gains. While there’s more work to do, we must ensure the state lives within its means.”
The Governor’s reductions include vetoing $250 million in appropriations for renovations to the state Capitol building. While ensuring the Capitol building is modern and accessible to all people in Illinois is a priority, the state cannot afford to move forward with additional renovations this year. In 2013, the Governor halted renovations at the Capitol after excessive flourishes and spending by the architect was brought to his attention.
As part of the budget review which commenced June 1, the Governor directed his administration to conduct a thorough review of the state’s aircraft to determine the state’s needs. Selling nearly half the state’s air fleet continues the Governor’s commitment to making Illinois government more efficient while ensuring travel for official state business continues.
Currently the state owns 21 aircraft and spends more than $7 million to operate and maintain the fleet each year. Governor Quinn today instructed the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS) to put nine aircraft – including seven from the Illinois Department of Transportation and two from the Illinois State Police – on the market while maintaining several aircraft to continue state government operations.
Last week the Governor directed state agencies to cut 80 paid parking spaces for state employees in downtown garages – more than 30 percent of the total spots reserved. The move will save taxpayers more than $100,000 annually. He also again reduced lease costs for government buildings that will save taxpayers an additional $55 million this year.
In March, the Governor submitted a balanced budget plan that continued paying down the state’s bills, protected education and public safety, and secured Illinois’ long-term financial future, but legislators instead postponed the tough budget decisions.
The rest of the budget, with its serious borrowing and spending problems, will apparently be left intact.
*** UPDATE 1 *** Bruce Rauner responds…
“Pat Quinn broke his promise on taxes and his only goal is to permanently take more money out of every hard-working Illinoisans’ paycheck – and this broken budget is the result. In five years of Quinn budgets, we’ve seen higher taxes and decimated education funding, and the results have been the highest unemployment in the Midwest and too many failing schools. We need to fundamentally shake up the way Springfield does business and enact structural reforms to fix our broken state government.”
Except for Rauner’s oft-repeated promise to “shake up” Springfield, he has proposed few concrete ideas to do so. Still, this is an awful budget.
*** UPDATE 2 *** Rep. Tom Cross…
“The budget signed by Governor Quinn today is clearly unconstitutional and violates state law. Both Republicans and Democrats agree that the budget is hundreds of millions of dollars out of balance while wasting millions of hard-earned taxpayer dollars on unnecessary and wasteful projects. If I am fortunate enough to be elected State Treasurer, I will go to court and challenge the legality of this budget which clearly violates Illinois’ Constitution.”
*** UPDATE 3 *** Another Rauner campaign response…
Pat Quinn has now decided to follow Bruce Rauner’s lead and sell part of the state’s air fleet.
“In just one year, Pat Quinn traveled more than 21,000 miles as a frequent flyer on the state’s plane and just a few weeks ago called Bruce’s government reform ideas ‘a prank,’” Rauner campaign spokesman Mike Schrimpf said. “Unfortunately, it’s Pat Quinn who has been cheating Illinois taxpayers for five years.”
“It’s good to see the governor following Bruce’s lead on this,” Schrimpf added. “But Illinoisans will only know Quinn is serious about reform if he follows up by pledging to reduce corporate welfare, eliminate his massive tax hike and come clean about the massive abuse of taxpayer dollars in his administration.”
“Bruce looks forward to living in Springfield, where he can actually do the job of governor and save tax dollars on flights at the same time,” Schrimpf concluded.
*** UPDATE 4 *** From Sen. Matt Murphy…
“This is a phony cut from a phony budget. Why would Pat Quinn try to convince people that he is reining in spending by cutting an appropriation that he knows wasn’t even going to be spent this year? This phony cut will have zero impact on the state budget in Fiscal Year 2015. In the meantime, Illinoisans will continue to live under the economic insecurity created by Governor Quinn’s poor fiscal choices.”