*** UPDATE *** Apparently, the Pantagraph had it wrong. Stuff happens. The paper has now published a new story which completely contradicts its earlier story…
Illinois public health officials say there will be more, not fewer workers testing for swine flu and other diseases if the governor’s budget is adopted.
Although Gov. Pat Quinn’s proposed spending plan calls for cuts at the three labs that conduct tests, a separate line in the budget would add an additional 16 workers, said Illinois Department of Public Health spokeswoman Melaney Arnold.
Arnold said Wednesday the additional workers will be funded through a different revenue stream than the other employees, who are set to be reduced by three.
Okeedokee. I’m gonna strike out the rest of this…
* National Democrats have made a big stink about how the Republicans stripped pandemic preparedness funding out of the federal stimulus bill.
Gov. Pat Quinn is proposing to cut the number of workers at state laboratories that process swine flu samples. […]
Quinn’s chief spokesman referred questions to the Illinois Department of Public Health, which did not respond to requests for elaboration.
The reductions, contained in Quinn’s budget plan that was crafted before swine flu found its ways into the headlines, also include the elimination of expenses associated with the state’s pandemic flu preparedness efforts. […]
Along with the proposed personnel cuts, the governor’s budget also would eliminate all funds associated with pandemic flu preparation, saving an estimated $57,800.
* Speaking of the budget, sometimes, no governor can win. From a Belleville News-Democrat editorial…
We objected last fall when then Gov. Rod Blagojevich swung his budget ax at Fort de Chartres, the Pierre Menard Home, the Cahokia Courthouse and other state historic sites. He likely chose them for cost cutting because he knew it would rile the public and embarrass lawmakers.
But Gov. Pat Quinn’s decision to reopen them last week didn’t make good sense, either.
* The Kankakee Daily Journal is against the concept but for the proposal…
We see the [proposed Illinois] tobacco tax as another step in the increasing regulation of your health. We have said it before. A government that pays for your blood pressure pills will eventually regulate just about everything that can give you high blood pressure. Some states now ban smoking in cars if minors are present. Municipalities have pondered banning smoking in rented apartments.
Schools have banned junk food. A sugar tax is being contemplated in some cities as a means of fighting obesity.
But taxing tobacco out of existence is a fairly easy call. Unlike even sugar, there’s nothing to be said for it being beneficial in moderation. Tobacco use in all forms is harmful. Cigarettes, too, are a relatively modern phenomenon. Tobacco use predated Columbus. But the modern mass-marketed machine-paper rolled cigarette is less than a century old.
Its demise will not be lamented here.
* Taxpayer group opposes Gov. Quinn’s income tax hike: The NTUI says instead, state employess should contribute more to their own pensions and healthcare funds. NTUI President James Tobin says, “Five percentage points more would reduce the pension benefit liabilities by more than 20 billion dollars.”
* Quinn not sold on Howe recommendation
* Panel says to close Howe; gov. mum
* Howe Developmental Center: Panel recommends closing care center
* Panel Backs Closing Tinley Park Centers
* Take precautions but don’t panic
* Local health officials hope to walk line between panic, pandemic
* Illinois reports first cases of probable swine flu
* Probable swine flu closes Rogers Park school
* “Probable” Swine Flu in Chicago
* No cutbacks for kids’ summer programs