* This has to be the weirdest, most bizarre threat that Gov. Blagojevich has ever issued…
Gov. Rod Blagojevich is threatening to lay off 1,800 of the state’s roughly 2,000 Illinois State Police troopers in January unless lawmakers approve key budget legislation soon.
“We simply can’t pay some of our bills,” Blagojevich spokesman Justin DeJong said Thursday.
The administration, which has been battling with lawmakers over the state budget for 10 months, didn’t deny that the move could have a devastating effect on the state’s crime fighting force. […]
Although lawmakers have approved a budget, separate legislation that gives the administration the authority to funnel it to specific programs has been held up as a bargaining chip over other issues, including a massive expansion of gambling that would pay for a $13 billion statewide construction spending program.
As the article notes, this is simply a “pressure” tactic on House Speaker Michael Madigan, the governor’s nemesis. But the threat is so ludicrous and would be so disastrous that nobody believes the governor is crazy enough to do it - although he has done some seriously crazy things in the past.
* More budget-related stories, compiled by Paul…
* Blagojevich aide’s conflict of interest revealed
* Senate votes to keep governor’s budget cuts
* Senate restores some of budget cuts by governor
* Senate Democrats motion to override Blagojevich’s cuts
* CTA to unveil next round of cuts today
* Pace meetings detail deep service cuts
*** UPDATE *** From Justin DeJong…
Wanted to make sure you knew the full story on the ISP situation in Lee News - because we aren’t threatening anyone, just laying out the facts - despite how headline reads.
The Illinois State Police depend upon BIMP legislation to pay a significant number of their front line officers (out of the Road Fund, which has taken place since 1984), and there has not been legislative action, despite this being the last day of veto session. Without this legislation, we simply can’t pay some of our bills - including salaries for state troopers. Layoffs are the last thing we’d want to happen and that’s why it’s imperative that legislators take action to pass these bills. New funding for schools and providers for those with developmental disabilities is also in jeopardy and the Illinois House needs to pass the BIMP bills so they can receive the money they are entitled to in the budget passed by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor.
ISP currently has funding for officers until January 1. If the BIMP is not passed by December 1 - only 6 weeks from now - ISP will need to issue layoff notices to approximately 1,800 of their officers. While funding levels were established in the budget passed by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor - we need the secondary legislation known as a Budget Implementation Act (BIMP) to make sure funds are transferred and available to make payments.
Hope this is helpful