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Quinn muffed it again

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* Erickson nails it

Gov. Pat Quinn appeared to take a page out of his predecessor’s playbook Monday. While state lawmakers were meeting in Springfield, Quinn unveiled what he called a “doomsday” budget to a civic club in Chicago. […]

Just as Blagojevich once threatened to lay off state police troopers during budget negotiations, Quinn warned that thousands of teachers and other state employees would be laid off if lawmakers don’t work to fill a gaping budget hole. […]

Quinn’s move was reminiscent of the ousted Blagojevich, who often traveled around the state or held events in Chicago to criticize lawmakers while they were at work hours away in the Capitol.

Quinn apparently learned nothing. He had a perfect opportunity to draw attention to the very real problems faced by his proposals, and instead he pulled a wildly goofy stunt in Chicago - just like Blagojevich would’ve done.

* Quinn is even talking sports like Blagojevich now…

Quinn declined to say who he’d like to have as his running mate when he runs for re-election, but joked, “If the Cubs win the World Series, then probably Lou Piniella.”


* Nice swipe by Rep. Jack Franks…

“I wish the governor would spend as much energy on finding efficiencies in state government, as putting together this document,” he said.

* The Tribune editorial board, however, apparently thinks the governor should get more strident

If you want reform, Governor, fight for it. If you then want a tax increase, fight for it. If you want to look like a guy who’s just angling to make friends for the next election, keep letting the people who see you as a short-term placeholder set your agenda.

* The Tribune’s reporters look at the real problem here

Here’s some perspective on the financial pickle. The state taps its main checkbook for more than $30 billion a year in spending, and more than half is dedicated to politically sensitive programs in education and health care. Both have proved impervious to significant cuts in the past, one reason why Quinn’s new threat was a gamble.

Factor out the cost of other must-have programs in human services, law enforcement, prisons and the like, and all but 5 percent of the budget is in practical terms immune to the chopping block, said Chrissy Mancini, analyst for the Chicago-based Center for Tax and Budget Accountability.

Bottom line? There’s no practical way to cobble together enough cuts to make ends meet.

* And there’s more budget trouble afoot

An industry group said Illinois saw the country’s biggest percentage drop in gambling revenue in 2008, and it lays part of the blame on the state’s smoking ban.

In a report released Monday, the American Gaming Assn. said Illinois casinos collected $1.57 billion in 2008 revenue, a 20.9% drop from the previous year. The state’s ban on smoking in public places took effect Jan. 1, 2008.

Indiana saw a 1.6% increase to $2.67 billion in 2008.

* Related…

* ADDED: Brown: Video poker back in play in Springfield

* ADDED: Illinois lawmakers want money for construction

* ADDED: Ten years later, lawmakers aim for another construction plan

* ADDED: Don’t fiddle with 55-45 formula for road funds

* Quinn’s Doomsday Plan Called Scare Tactics

* Quinn tries to scare with ‘doomsday’ budget

* “Doomsday” projected without tax hike

* Quinn gloms onto a crisis

* ‘Doomsday budget’ fails to change minds

* ‘Slash & Burn’: Quinn paints doomsday picture if no tax increase

posted by Rich Miller
Tuesday, May 19, 09 @ 10:18 am


  1. The state’s political “leadership” will not face up to the issues that need to be addressed.

    They are emotionally, politically, and intellectually not willing to do what needs doing. Their base philosophies would need a rewrite - and they will not do it.

    It is no more or less complicated than that.

    Comment by krome Tuesday, May 19, 09 @ 10:27 am

  2. The Trib edit board’s enthusiasm for the Civic Federation’s “gutsy” proposal is curious. I’m not sure they read it,

    The Civic Federation’s proposal also includes an income tax increases of one percentage point on individuals and 1.6 points on businesses.

    After their cuts and increases, they still have a $4.25 billion deficit, which they say ” if the governor and General Assembly are not
    able to find the will to make additional cuts in state spending, they should consider broadening the base
    of the state’s two largest tax sources by eliminating the exemption on retirement income to be in accord
    with federal and most state tax codes and/or re-impose the state sales tax on food and drugs…”

    Everybody on board for that?

    Comment by wordslinger Tuesday, May 19, 09 @ 10:35 am

  3. The riverboats are also employimg fewer people. This was predicted but no one listened. The smoking ban should have never applied to the casinos. Only in Springfield could they drain a cash cow with a feel good law.

    Comment by Mr. Ethics Tuesday, May 19, 09 @ 10:42 am

  4. The fundamental question that this budget mess presents to voters is ….Can Democrats Govern Efficiently and Effectively? FDR, and to some extent, LBJ, were masters of making government respond to their agenda. Gov Thompson drove his aggressive agenda while Madigan had one foot on the brake. However, Democrats inherently have a much more diverse caucus and therefore a more complex agenda. Quinn needs to become personally involved with lobbying legislators; otherwise Madigan will have him wearing the collar. After all, Madigan’s power comes from the ability to stop legislation and he’s had 27 years to perfect his techniques.

    Comment by Louis Howe Tuesday, May 19, 09 @ 11:09 am

  5. Can Democrats Govern Efficiently and Effectively?

    We’ve had seven years discovering that the answer to that question is hell, no!

    Comment by VanillaMan Tuesday, May 19, 09 @ 11:21 am

  6. If I remember correctly, it was posted here some time ago that a worst-case scenario budget was being put together. If that’s true, an all cut budget deserved time, serious research, and genuine numbers. Whether the Governor’s document itself reflects that is a separate issue.

    The problem isn’t that the Governor took time to have this document made, it was his over-the-top presentation. A white paper from one of the leadership offices was necessary. Placing something tangible at everyone’s feet gives more traction to the tax/pension legislation that must take place; otherwise, there will simply be more tired legislators that give up and punt it to another year. Cullerton seems to have the best alternative, not as the most sound, but because at this late stage we need something simple to swallow that raises revenue as evenly as possible.

    This will undoubtedly be another year that procrastination wins; another year the rank-and-file and minority party have too little say; another year our budget suffers from old, tired, and outdated political thinking that reflects times when budgets were done with pencil and paper instead of multibillion dollar, diversified financial obligations based on compound interest and obscure growth projections.

    Generation Baby Boom “your old road’s rapidly agin’. Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand.” (Dylan, B.)

    Comment by COPN Tuesday, May 19, 09 @ 11:23 am

  7. Quinn proves once again that he is not equal to the task.

    This is almost like watching a B movie where Chevy Chase is working in a hardware store and the next day he wakes up and is the CEO of Lowe’s.

    “We’ll roll up our sleeves and get right to work.”

    “Home Depot-they’re yesterday’s tomatoes.”

    “We lost money last quarter-so what, it was a piddly-diddly little amount. I’ve been here a hundred days now. Let me tell you about the new lightbulbs I installed here at headquarters.”

    Meanwhile, Rome burns.

    Comment by Arthur Andersen Tuesday, May 19, 09 @ 11:37 am

  8. Blago lite emerges. At least he id not toss in another conession to the unions pre-negotiation.

    Comment by Ghost Tuesday, May 19, 09 @ 11:44 am

  9. I don’t know, so I’m asking: Could Filan be the common link between Quinn & Blago on the budget doomsday?

    Comment by Wondering Tuesday, May 19, 09 @ 11:54 am

  10. I think Quinn will get an income tax increase but not what he is asking for. And it could be “temporary.” But it will make a lot of people mad, especially since he seems so reluctant to cut anything.

    But then what? Look at California. They passed a budget a couple of months ago that included an income tax increase plus significant increases in fees. And it’s already not enough, especially if a number of propositions don’t pass this month.
    They’ll have to go back to cutting.

    If Quinn and his Blago holdovers thought folks would be mad for a couple of weeks and then it would be smooth sailing to the primaries, he should think again. He’ll have to keep the scissors handy because he’s likely going to have to be using them for the next couple of years…right up until somebody else’s
    gubernatorial inauguration.

    Comment by Anonymous Tuesday, May 19, 09 @ 12:38 pm

  11. The problem with this budget scare is that the legislature is more afraid of getting hung with a tax increase and knows the cuts will get blamed on leadership-not them. I don’t think there are the votes for a temporary tax increase and certainly not a permanant one.

    This budget train has derailed and is sliding toward a broken tressle.

    Comment by Phineas J. Whoopee Tuesday, May 19, 09 @ 3:14 pm

  12. AP Newsbreak: Pensions would cost $95 billion more
    Associated Press - May 19, 2009 5:54 PM ET
    SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn’s plan to reform the public pension system to save money would actually cost $95 billion extra over the next three decades.
    Documents obtained by The Associated Press show Quinn would cut in half the amount of money the state would put into retirement systems for state employees in the next five years.

    Comment by DC Tuesday, May 19, 09 @ 5:32 pm

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