* Does this sound familiar? Oy…
[Gov. Pat Quinn] suggested lawmakers should skip their upcoming spring break to vote on his tax increase.
I hope he’s not thinking of screwing with my spring break with a special session. Frankly, I don’t care if legislators are inconvenienced, but I have plans, and they don’t include Springfield.
“I really feel the legislature shouldn’t take a break, a holiday, until they vote on this tax increase,” said Quinn during an appearance at Morton Community College in Cicero. “I think when you’re in a crisis, members of the legislature have to have an urgent sense of duty and an urgent sense of acting.”
The governor, however, stopped short of saying he would call a special session to keep lawmakers at the Capitol the last week of March and first week of April.
OK, kill it and leave town then.
* Meanwhile, some people want more…
Women leaders from across the state called on Gov. Pat Quinn and legislative leaders today to approve a tax increase that would continue services supported by the state.
The group provided a letter sent to the leaders with more than 200 signatures from women politicians and organization leaders.
And some want less…
The plan comes from the Illinois Policy Institute, which is technically nonpartisan but whose views on economic matters bear a close resemblance to those of Bill Brady, the GOP nominee for governor.
In essence, it goes beyond cuts in state employee pensions and Medicaid to focus on a wide and deep range of cuts throughout every level of state government — all $3.7 billion worth of them designed to make the state live within its existing income, as the group puts it.
The plan is here.
Zeroing out programs like local government aid, Advanced Placement, agricultural education, foreign language education, Illinois National Guard and Naval Militia scholarships, home delivered meals to seniors, the Guardianship and Advocacy Commission, and slashing things like the child death review teams at DCFS and cutting Circuit Breaker by 75 percent won’t exactly be politically feasible.
For instance, asserting that the average state worker makes 15.7% more a year than those in the private sector, the institute proposes to save $900 million by cutting labor costs. Exactly how it would do that isn’t certain, since the state’s workforce is near 20-year lows now and employee unions have been unwilling to open existing contracts.
Education would get $300 million less than Mr. Quinn proposed, which would put schools $1.6 billion below this year’s level at a time when some districts already are laying off staff. Mr. Tillman responds that the institute would cut spending on extraneous items like preschool, principal mentoring and higher education, to focus the state’s education money on in-classroom work in grade and high schools.
The biggest single cut — more than $2.7 billion — would be in “health and human services.” Some of that is lower salaries for state workers, but much of it is less money for outside grants to community groups, service agencies and the like.
We just went through a huge debate in this state about funding human service groups, led by Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno. I’m sure Radogno won’t be climbing on board any time soon.
…Also… Regarding higher education, from the report…
Students are in the best position to make prudent decisions over their financial and academic futures. As such it was a priority to maintain funding for the Monetary Award Program (MAP), which is a tuition assistance program that enables students of limited means to better afford college. Insofar as reductions were made to direct institutional funding for the state’s four-year universities, community colleges, and support agencies, it was done so in order to allocate higher levels of support for the MAP grant program, which assists students attending all institutions of higher learning in Illinois.
They propose bumping up MAP grants by about $70 million, but cut the University of Illinois’ budget alone by almost $200 million. Not quite an exact tradeoff here.