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Hynes, Sen. Brady rip into Quinn’s handling of Budget; Budget Round-Up

Wednesday, Aug 5, 2009 - Posted by Mike Murray

[posted by Mike Murray]

* Yesterday, Comptroller Hynes unloaded full-bore on Governor Quinn’s management of the of the budget

Quinn announced about $1 billion in budget cuts Friday, including employee layoffs and furloughs and cuts in human service programs. However, Hynes said the long-awaited announcement didn’t clarify the state’s financial situation.

“They were very vague and they seemed to be a regurgitation of cuts previously announced,” Hynes said in an interview. “In terms of providing clarity and consistency to where we stand and what needs to be done, I think he gets pretty low marks. I think the overall theme is chaos reigns, and confusion permeates the Quinn administration.”

Hynes repeated complaints leveled by many lawmakers that Quinn shifted positions on what kinds of cuts were necessary and what cuts could be avoided with a tax. Numbers used to describe the size of the state’s budget shortfall also changed.

“It’s frustratingly confusing, and I’m the comptroller,” Hynes said.

Hynes did not stop there…

Some budget cuts announced by Quinn last week could have been avoided, Hynes added, if the budget axe had fallen first on middle- and upper-level managers and on contracts promoting the Illinois State Lottery and tourism. […]

Hynes said Quinn is cutting front-line workers before weeding out middle- and upper-level managers.

Oof. A brand of harshness that is not surprising considering it’s coming from Quinn’s 2010 primary opponent.

To his credit, however, Hynes did provide some specific points of criticism…

Hynes’ office said 1,600 people on the state payroll who earn $70,000 or more a year were hired while Rod Blagojevich was governor. Hynes described them as “mostly political appointees.”

“There are 1,600 positions that should be scrutinized before we consider cutting employees who take care of our children and protect our communities,” Hynes said, adding that he is not suggesting all of the jobs are unnecessary. […]

“This should have been done months ago,” Hynes said.

Hynes also complained about the state spending $20 million on contracts to promote the Lottery and tourism at the same time Quinn cut $30 million from programs for the developmentally disabled.

* Sen. Brady, also a vying for the IL governor’s mansion, echoed Hynes’ criticisms of Quinn’s handling of the budget, with specific focus on the IDOC…

Brady of Bloomington, questioned the wisdom of the layoffs, which he said could prove to be dangerous and “put the security of our prison system at greater risk.”

In a separate release, Brady noted the department of corrections employee headcount is about 11,000, its lowest level since 1992, despite the fact that the prison inmate population has grown in that same period from 30,400 to 45,500.

Much of the problem, Brady said, is that the department is top heavy with high-paid bureaucrats.

“Rather than laying off critical correction employees, the governor should be reducing high-level staff, eliminating mandatory overtime and spreading the shared sacrifice necessary to balance the budget more equally throughout state government,” he said.

When both Democrats and Republicans vioce the same criticism, it might be a very real problem. That said…

* Sen. Sullivan was dismissive of that line of criticism…

Sen. John Sullivan, D-Rushville, said the issue of Blagojevich appointees still on the payroll was raised during a meeting between Quinn and lawmakers at the Executive Mansion weeks ago.

“The governor agreed to look at those positions,” Sullivan said of the meeting. “I feel pretty confident he is.”

While not a ringing endorsement, Sullivan’s statement certainly pack more of a punch then Quinn’s written response to Hynes’ comments…

“Gov. Quinn has been at the forefront of reshaping Illinois government by cutting costs, making efficiencies, proposing structural changes such as pension reform and recognizing the need for greater revenue,” Reed said in a written statement. “Governor Quinn will continue to battle for our most needy residents while restoring fiscal integrity to the state.”

***Budget Round-Up***

* Tax-free weekend off table in Illinois for now

SPRINGFIELD - Among Gov. Pat Quinn’s budget plans that were put on hold this year was one to grant Illinois residents relief from sales taxes on back-to-school purchases.

* SIUC hopes for change in financial aid

Despite Gov. Pat Quinn’s most recent budget confirming a complete cut in Monetary Assistance Program grants for the spring semester, Southern Illinois University administrators remain hopeful that something will change.

SIU President Glenn Poshard and SIUC Chancellor Samuel Goldman are hopeful the Illinois legislator’s veto session or the new session in January brings better news. […]

Until then, he said he is sitting down with the chancellors from the Carbondale and Edwardsville campuses to look at the university’s budget and decide what can be done. In addition to the MAP grants, SIUC will also lose Walker Scholarships and reimbursement for Illinois Veterans Grants. Despite the lack of reimbursement, Goldman said it will not affect the veterans, only the university.

* Illinois State freezes pay for nonunion employees

NORMAL — Illinois State University is freezing pay rates for nonunion faculty and staff for the fall semester, citing budget woes.[…]

He says the state has cut $10 million for the school’s tuition waiver program for veterans and for the Monetary Award Program that provides financial aid. […]

ISU has nearly 1,900 faculty and staff and more than 20,000 students.

* State cuts hit ISU agriculture, food research program

State money used for agriculture and food research at Illinois State and Southern Illinois universities won’t be available this year because of budget cuts.

About $2.2 million that had been planned for the program was cut off by Gov. Pat Quinn Friday as part of a $1 billion reduction in state government spending.


  1. - Niles Township - Wednesday, Aug 5, 09 @ 10:32 am:

    So far I am not that impressed with Hynes. Granted it is way early, but his arguments seem weak.

  2. - Leave a Light on George - Wednesday, Aug 5, 09 @ 10:55 am:

    Hynes is spot on about the Blago appointee’s.

    Here is what a respected 38 year employee of IDNR said recently in an on line publication called Prairie State Outdoors.

    “Yet oddly enough, DNR executive staff has grown. Director Miller’s staff includes an assistant director, an assistant to the director and two deputy directors. Conlin said as many as 23 people attend executive meetings, a number he thinks should be cut to five.

    “There’s no way a fat executive staff can live off a lean field staff,” he said. “It’s ridiculous right now. There’s so much fat and you never see it cut at the top.”

  3. - Mark O. - Wednesday, Aug 5, 09 @ 10:55 am:

    I think that the political appointees and contract employees should be laid off first.

  4. - Anonymous45 - Wednesday, Aug 5, 09 @ 2:22 pm:

    I am already bored with this Quinn vs. Hynes fingerpointing…hindsight counts for nothing..

  5. - Cosmic Charlie - Wednesday, Aug 5, 09 @ 3:21 pm:

    Its not hindsight when Quinn announced his cuts 6 days ago and we still don’t have a full-year budget.

  6. - With all due respect to Hynes... - Wednesday, Aug 5, 09 @ 3:38 pm:

    I agree with him, but shouldn’t hynes have said all this Friday or at the very latest had his statement ready for the Sunday news cycle?

    Hynes seems a little slow out of the gate here. Again, I agree with Hynes 100 percent, but he seriously cannot afford to let time lapse when it comes to critizing quinn. Quinn is far too beatable to be this slow in attacking him.

  7. - Cindy Lou - Wednesday, Aug 5, 09 @ 3:58 pm:

    –”I agree with him, but shouldn’t hynes have said all this Friday or at the very latest had his statement ready for the Sunday news cycle”?–

    And why? Geesh, Quinn was still trying to hide in secret as late as minutes before the announcement.

    No biggie that Hynes gave it a ‘look-see’ before responding. We have six months to let the ‘incoming’ bombs fly. I’d be more disappointed if Hynes rushed with a statement without appearing to give the cuts some review.

    1,600. Heh heh heh. 25 at executive meetings @ DNR. Chiefs vs Indians. Filing away in my mental tidbit chest so as not to misplace the info.

  8. - With all due respect to Hynes... - Wednesday, Aug 5, 09 @ 4:24 pm:

    Yes, I agree that Quinn was being shady on Friday, and his snippy attitude was really sad to see. But all in all the media pretty much gave him pass over the weekend, as the slant was generally favorable to him.

    He really did seem to come un-glued at that Friday press conference, old pro at giving press conferences that he is and all. He was shuffling around all figgidty (sp?)as Stermer was talking. Then he was abrupt,and seemed annoyed, at times when answering reporters questions.

  9. - State worker union - Wednesday, Aug 5, 09 @ 4:53 pm:

    Great job Quinn. You eliminated 20 deputy directors from corrections and gave them ALL “other” jobs making over $90,000. And you lay off front line prison workers. And you still keep the Directors and Managenent Blago brought on before his arrest. I’m voting for Hynes!

  10. - Cassandra - Wednesday, Aug 5, 09 @ 5:19 pm:

    Hynes has my vote.

    For months, I’ve been asking why Quinn is so reluctant to rid us of some number of highly paid appointed hacks–most appointed by Blago–and in some cases by Ryan and then Blago. That’s some bipartisan clout. Anyway, it is beyond understanding.

    In addition to the appointees who serve totally at the pleasure of the governor, who can be let go at any time, the rest are likely four year termers whose terms are coming up for renewal all the time. Is Quinn renewing them all while he
    scares frontline staff about layoffs that may or may not happen. Renewing highly-paid four year termers (to the tune of hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to pay their compensation over four years, during which they are almost impossible to fire) while scaring the front lines
    and projecting mass confusion about what the deficit actually is….it’s just not gubernatorial. We need somebody who can count.

  11. - Cindy Lou - Wednesday, Aug 5, 09 @ 5:32 pm:

    I’m waiting for total clarification on bargaining vs non-bargaining in lay-off figures. Should be interesting. Surely one would think that some of the 2553 would come from some where other than just frontline AFSCME, uh, wait, I forgot, breaking and/or weakening the contract seems to be the ultimate goal in this whole thing.

    Psst, Cassandra. There will be lay-offs, Cross and his chest thumping holdouts insist on it.

  12. - state employee - Wednesday, Aug 5, 09 @ 6:00 pm:

    Human Service Caseworkers now have min 1,000 and over 2,000 CASES EACH PERSON. No hiring for over 2 years and people leaving and retiring, and demand for medical and food stamps up dramatically in this “deep recession” really depression. What will the caseload be after the layoffs? Maybe the state will stop receiving federal money b/c they can’t keep up w/ processing the food stamps and medicaid timely. Nice work GA Geniuses (Madigan) and Quinn!! Well done!! What kind of state will you be left presiding over?

  13. - wordslinger - Thursday, Aug 6, 09 @ 7:28 am:

    I disagree with Hynes on tourism advertising. The ROI is pretty strong in hotel/motel taxes, sales taxes, etc. You could argue that the state should target its resources more, rather than trying to create an elusive “Illinois brand” a la Wisconsin and Michigan.

    Have I missed something about the number of inmates to be released from state prisons because of layoffs of correctional officers. I though Schermer last week was talking about programs to transition prisoners more quickly back into society.

    If you’re going to do it, lay it all out for everyone to see.

  14. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Aug 6, 09 @ 9:50 am:

    When I heard that the state hired 1700 upper level “bureau chiefs” to pad the state, I was shocked and disgusted. Anyone willing to take that kind of job knows where they sit regarding job security. Blagojevich is gone. They should all go too. They had a long run suckling off our teats, and they should have been booted when their mentor was inpeached and removed from office.

    Hynes is obviously right, and Quinn is obviously wrong on this.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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