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The game behind the cuts

Tuesday, Jun 29, 2010 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Gov. Quinn said yesterday that he would probably announce his budget cuts Wednesday. He refused to offer details

The only area Quinn specifically said would be cut is “bureaucracy,” but he provided no details.

“There are serious cuts in the bureaucracy of state government,” Quinn said. “We’re going to have to tighten the belt as tight as it can be.”

Quinn signed an agreement with AFSCME this past January not to close any more state facilities. The agreement also forbade any state employee layoffs until June of 2011 beyond those already announced at the time. We’ll just have to wait and see how he gets around this one if he’s focusing on the “bureaucracy.”

But Quinn did say he’d protect education and human services as much as he could…

Exactly what he will allocate to each area is another question. As he has before, Quinn said he will do what he can to protect education spending, although the State Board of Education last week announced $300 million in cuts to education programs.

“Last year, we had an effort by the General Assembly to cut human services in half. It was heartless,” Quinn added. “I hope we can prevent any kind of severe cuts in human services or any other important services to people.”

* Today, Quinn said he probably won’t announce his budget decisions until Thursday

Quinn says he’ll sign a budget by midnight Wednesday but may not announce his budget cuts until Thursday morning.

* State Sen. Larry Bomke will be a major target of these cuts. The Springfield Republican has refused to publicly support the pension borrowing plan and he’s already dismissing Quinn’s latest gambit

Bomke said he believes the budget details to be released this week are just more of the same game that’s been played at the statehouse for two years. A game he says won’t end until after this fall’s election.

“It’s all politics,” Bomke said. “That’s what it’s all about.”

But Bomke also says he wants cuts…

Bomke said cuts would be more prudent, and are likely what voters expect.

“The general population is having a tough time. People who are not public employees are finding themselves out of a job,” Bomke said. “And I think the general population is saying live within your means.”

That quote won’t go over too well in Bomke’s district. Expect tons of heat on him to switch to a “Yes” vote on pension borrowing.

…Adding… Illinois Statehouse News has posted a video of the governor’s press availability yesterday. Watch it

* Related and a roundup…

* Zorn: It makes sense to borrow billions

* State fair horse racing more likely

* Brady: Quinn didn’t fire ‘hacks’ Blagojevich hired: Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady said Monday that Gov. Pat Quinn, who took over the job after the ouster of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, did not remove “political hacks” Blagojevich named to state jobs. He also told the Illinois Society of Association Executives, meeting in Springfield, “I like the director of transportation, but I think that more of an engineering sort ought to be involved” in that post.

* Brady: Reduce tax burden on business

* Brady Rallies, Defends Stance on Minimum Wage

* Bill Brady…A Millionaire

* Readers respond to Madigan’s commentary in Kadner column

* Gov. Quinn names 3 to board overseeing McPier

* Governor, business and labor leaders laud arrival of mobile broadband in Decatur

* Quinn signs bill at Scott to help military kids; ‘It will make it easier on families,’ one father says

* Exit interview: Why Bob Reed went to work for Pat Quinn


  1. - Cindy Lou - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 12:16 pm:

    Actually an agreement to ‘not layoff’ is not quite the same as to say ‘elimination of staff’ is not going on.

  2. - Montrose - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 12:17 pm:

    I would question the wisdom of announcing the budget line items the first day of the fiscal year, wondering how state contractors are suppose to deal with this 11th hour information, but since they have not been paid since 2009, I guess it doesn’t really matter.

  3. - Scooby - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 12:33 pm:

    How much of Brady’s mantra to fire employees is designed to give him cover to purge staffers in favor of party loyalists in the event he wins? You know Republican county chairmen are eating up all this talk, salivating at the thought of getting their people back in the way they had it for 26 years under Thompson, Edgar and Ryan.

  4. - OswegoDem - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 12:37 pm:

    Mass unionization has left very few positions for the Republicans to fill in January WHEN they take over.

  5. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 12:48 pm:

    That’s a lot of heat for Bomke to take.

  6. - cassandra - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 12:48 pm:

    Quinn’s AFSCME agreement probably didn’t say he couldn’t eliminate positions, but if the incumbent has layoff rights, then in practical terms what’s the dif? The incumbent gets laid off into another position. Little or no money saved. Quinn’s admin is still hiring (he has never ordered a hard hiring freeze despite all the budget crisis chatter) so presumably those new positions are available but if not enough? I suppose those in “eliminated” jobs just sit there doing make work. The state organizational chart is infinitely flexible. And it’s Illinois after all, where public sector employment is lifetime employment.

    Interesting that Quinn didn’t mention any cuts in
    “contracts and grants,” which is where a lot of
    waste is. Not to mention the hundreds of employees the state has to hire to monitor those contracts. Contracts given to legislators’ second cousins twice removed all safe I guess. And what about earmarks. Did they go away with Emil? I doubt it.

    How many times can you issue doomsday budgets and anybody pays attention. Maybe we’re about to find out that our Pat has gone over his quota. The collective public response will be yeah, right. Yawn.

  7. - sal-says - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 12:55 pm:

    “There are serious cuts in the bureaucracy of state government,”….

    So, is Quinn finally gonna get around to the Blago’s he’s refused to dump up to now?

    Just askin’.

  8. - Gregor - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 1:01 pm:

    Not firing the Blago carpetbaggers has been my biggest disappointment with Quinn. I can only assume he hasn’t done it yet because he’s holding off until after the election. I can say that I believe for a fact that if I vote for Brady, those people will finally be gone. Quinn’s already let me down once on this issue, why should I have faith now? Give me a sign, Pat; lay off a couple before the election, the budget cuts are perfect cover for it.

  9. - dupage dan - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 1:10 pm:

    I’m with Gregor on PQs failure to fumigate. Perfect opportunity to show some spine and get some respect that he could refer to….right about now.

    Someone on this blog mentioned some time ago that PQ would be loath to fumigate those recent RB hires since he would likely need their support come election time. If true, it would seem highly unlikely he would pull the plug on those people now so I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  10. - Just Because - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 1:35 pm:

    I had hope for PQ I even thought about voting for him but he dont seem to take Managing the state seriously. I also feel many of the RB appointments (not all) should be looked at and let go. PQ might even get some respect from his own party for it…

  11. - anon - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 1:39 pm:

    I am not that knowledgeable regarding many of the “Blago holdovers.” How many are they? Who are they?


  12. - Pat Robertson - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 2:04 pm:

    anon @ 1:39 pm:

    Mk 5:9

  13. - Bill - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 2:44 pm:

    C’mon Quinn! Grow a spine. Do something! Anything!
    You still gotta be governor for another six months.All this waffling is giving Illinois a headache.

  14. - zatoichi - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 3:29 pm:

    “Last year, we had an effort by the General Assembly to cut human services in half. It was heartless,” Quinn added. “I hope we can prevent any kind of severe cuts in human services or any other important services to people.”

    FY 11 contracts were just delivered yesterday to mental health providers throughout the state. Apparently eliminating community based, supportive housing services for several thousand people with chronic mental illness is not considered severe.

  15. - cassandra - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 3:55 pm:

    Many of the Blago holdovers may have slipped down into the civil service bureaucracy, most of which is now unionized since Blago left.Since our Pat has decreed that no union members in state govt will be laid off before June 2011, those Blago hires are safe until then and probably beyond.

    The rest are four-year-term employees who can’t be fired except for cause until their term is up plus a few high-level at will folks. It would be interesting to know how many Blago appointees’ terms ran out since our Pat took over and whether our Pat renewed them. Renewal is not by default–the guv’s office has to approve the renewal or the employee is effectively fired without appeal.

    My friends in state government tell me that these four-year Blago hires have routinely had their terms renewed by our Pat. This means, by the way,
    that if Brady wins, he’ll be stuck with them for
    up to a couple years more till their terms run out. A crazy system but very beneficial to politicians and their contributors and cronies.

    The remainder are high-level appointees such as agency heads and high-level execs. If our Pat hasn’t fired them by now why would he.

    The Blago folks, to a significant degree, are still running the state bureaucray show. So much for change you can believe in.

  16. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 4:17 pm:

    Quinn is a bystander, ringing his hands. He doesn’t look like a leader anyone would want to vote.

  17. - Leatherneck - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 4:55 pm:

    With all the anticipation for tomorrow and Quinn’s statement today (mentioned above) stating he may not anticipate making his budget announcement until Thursday, here’s my gut feeling on the whole matter (and I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens):

    –The Governor (like last year at the end of OT session) will probably make a few minor cuts similar to the points presented in his budget proposal (that neither borrowing nor a tax hike will reverse).

    Then he probably will resort back to ringing the warning bell and stating “Here’s what additional cuts will occur if we don’t pass borrowing and/or a tax hike,” while not ruling out calling a special session before the end of the summer.

    Then if the GA still doesn’t budge on borrowing/taxes, he will probably have received enough outrage from potentially affected groups (e.g. AFSCME, social service providers) that he will probably cave yet again on these threatened deep cuts–leaving them until after the election and possibly even Inauguration Day 2011 too.

    Thoughts on this scenario? Could something like this be plausible?

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