*** UPDATE *** The reaction to Gov. Quinn’s plan is about as negative as one might’ve expected…
Suburban lawmakers and mayors Friday ripped Gov. Pat Quinn’s plan to take tax money away from communities unless lawmakers let him borrow cash to pay state bills, with one senator calling the tactic “blackmail.”
“(He) is trying to basically blackmail mayors … by saying ‘Hey, I’m going to withhold your money if you don’t beat up your local legislator to go along with my latest borrowing scheme,” said Sen. Ron Sandack, a Downers Grove Republican. […]
“It is unconscionable to say that we’re not going to pay units of local government their money,” said Sen. Kirk Dillard, a Hinsdale Republican. “He wants to punish local governments who in most cases have made budget cuts that Pat Quinn could only dream of.”
Dillard is among the Senate Republicans who have advanced a host of budget cutting proposals in recent months that included cutting back on what communities get from the state. The GOP says, though, that those cuts are options, and not ever Republican backs every choice.
However, Speaker Madigan’s spokesman said this afternoon that the Speaker has always tried to help the governor balance the budget and would continue to do so. Whatever that means.
[ *** End Of Update *** ]
* Remember last year when Gov. Pat Quinn tried to gin up support for his tax hike by threatening to cut education spending? It didn’t work. In fact, it backfired.
His latest scheme reminds me of that…
Gov. Pat Quinn wants to stop nearly $100 million in monthly payments to Chicago, the suburbs and other Illinois towns if lawmakers won’t let him borrow billions of dollars to pay overdue bills, according to a confidential memo the Tribune obtained Thursday.
The idea drew immediate blowback from local leaders worried about balancing their own budgets in a sluggish economy. […]
The proposal, outlined in the memo and quietly distributed to top legislators, represents a pressure tactic by the Democratic governor. He hopes mayors from Zion to Cairo will squeeze their town’s lawmakers to help get him the loan he wants.
But the General Assembly’s leadership has been highly skeptical of Quinn’s other recent plans for big borrowing. They also might not be keen on a plan that would punish communities back home and potentially result in a flood of phone calls and chanting protesters outside their district offices.
The Illinois Municipal League cranked up its defensive posture early this year to Cuban Missile Crisis levels in response to plans by the Senate Republicans and others to cut their revenue sharing. So, they’re already fully prepared to leap to a response. Also, I seriously doubt that Mayor-Elect Emanuel will just let this one slide.
The tone in the committee room changed once DHS said it would cut more in the community services it provides, and close down two state schools in Jacksonville — the Illinois School for the Deaf and the Illinois School for the Visually Impaired. […]
“I don’t know who is more vulnerable in Illinois, tell me who they are,” said State Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Highland, in a heated discussion during a committee meeting. “Bring in your AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) employees and have them stand before us, and tell us that they are more vulnerable than the people at these facilities.”
DHS Secretary Michelle Saddler said the workload for employees has doubled due to layoffs, and that DHS employees have received pay raises that total up to $47 million.
Republicans are blaming the proposed cuts on AFSCME’s contract, which calls for almost $50 milllion in raises at DHS. But they know full well that the contract cannot legally be reopened without AFSCME’s consent. And DHS’ proposed budget cut for next year is $388 million. That dwarfs the pay raises.
The threat to close down the facilities may just be yet another scare tactic. But, the Republicans cannot on the one hand constantly demand deep state spending cuts and on the other hand decry every attempt to do so. Sen. Ron Sandack, for instance, issued a glowing review of the SGOP budget cut proposals, yet recently sent a letter to his colleagues saying he’s against cutting local revenue sharing because he’s a mayor.
Human service programs are one of the biggest areas in the budget. You can’t make deep budget cuts without cutting human services…
“The problem here is 80 percent of the budget goes for Medicaid, human services, education and paying the (state’s) debt, so those are the only areas in which the budget can be cut,” Nowlan said.
That’s Budgeting 101.