* Did you expect anything else?
Gov. Blagojevich spared his own office from deep cuts but aggressively wielded his budget-cutting cleaver against fellow statewide officeholders, who rank among his loudest critics and are considered potential rivals to him in the 2010 election.
As part of $2.1 billion in trims to the 2008-’09 budget, the governor lopped as much as 25 percent from the office of Attorney General Lisa Madigan while cutting only 3 percent from his own bottom line.
* Zorn has some details on the cuts to AG Madigan’s budget. It’s not really a 25 percent cut because that figure includes a proposed increase for this fiscal year. It is, however, a 17 percent cut from last fiscal year, and that’s huge. The cut also brings Madigan’s appropriations back to FY 2003 levels…
FY 2003 — $40,710,000
FY 2004 — $39,638,700
FY 2005 — $41,222,400
FY 2006 — $42,505,300
FY 2007 — $48,142,400
FY 2008– $48,633,000
FY 2009 — $52,637,500 (in the budget as passed by the General Assembly); reduced this week to $40,000,000
* The other statewides also took serious hits…
“I don’t think there’s any question it was done in a petty and vindictive manner,” said Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn, who lost 17 percent from his budget after leading efforts to give voters the chance to recall Blagojevich. “I think every press conference I had on recall cost me another percentage point.” […]
Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, another potential 2010 rival to Blagojevich, saw his office budget cut by 13 percent after condemning Blagojevich’s acceptance of campaign contributions from state contractors and opposing his failed gross-receipts tax on businesses last year.
“It’s no secret that the treasurer has been critical of the governor’s policies, and the cuts made to our budget suggest that there’s a price to pay for that,” Giannoulias spokesman Scott Burnham said.
Comptroller Dan Hynes, another gubernatorial critic, had 11 percent cut from his budget. Secretary of State Jesse White had 14 percent cut from his office, a Senate Republican budget analysis showed.
Keep in mind, those totals are reductions from the proposed increases. But, they still represent real cuts in the end.
Also, the governor’s spokesperson claimed that the guv’s office budget has been cut over the years. What he didn’t mention was that the governor mostly just moves things off-budget by forcing state agencies to pick up the tab.
* Meanwhile, remember how the governor made a big deal of giving seniors free transit rides this year? Remember how this was such a high priority? Times change…
Wednesday, Blagojevich pulled the plug on $37 million that had been allocated to the Regional Transportation Authority to partially reimburse the agencies for offering reduced-fare rides to seniors, students and people with disabilities.
* Gambling expansion likely dead in Illinois
* Speaker: Gaming is dead
* House defeats gambling expansion plan
* Speaker Madigan leaves door open to tax hike next year
* Governor accused Madigan of playing games
* House Fails To Find Ways To Pay For Service Cuts
* Winfield super responds to governor’s budget cuts