Critics pointed out that the spending levels in House Bill 2145 were those that the Governor himself had requested in his budget proposal. The Governor was also criticized for the blanket veto of the entire measure, rather than using his authority to target spending reductions.
By vetoing the entire measure, Governor Quinn gave lawmakers the difficult choice of either overriding his proposed cuts in their entirety or completely rewriting the budget two weeks into the new fiscal year.
GOVERNOR SHOULD HAVE KEPT LAWMAKERS UNTIL BUDGET PASSED
The last time lawmakers were in Springfield, on June 30, Governor Quinn threatened to keep legislators in session all summer to address the budget. Many legislators stayed overnight in anticipation of being called back the next day.
Instead, Senate President John Cullerton and House Speaker Michael Madigan called for a special session two weeks later. Governor Quinn should have kept lawmakers in town as long as it took to resolve the budget crisis, instead of waiting two weeks.
WHAT THE VETO MEANS
If the cuts outlined by the Governor July 7 are approved, they would lead to approximately 2,600 state employee layoffs, including more than 1,000 layoffs of Department of Corrections personnel. Quinn is also proposing 12 furlough days for state employees and downsizing of some correctional facilities—with possible early release for some state inmates.
The cuts advanced by Governor Quinn would reduce state funding to programs and services under many state agencies. However, with no budget in place, many social service programs that rely on state funding have already been forced to close their doors, lay off employees and reduce services.
ONE BUDGET MEASURE SIGNED
Governor Quinn did sign one budget measure. House Bill 2194 contains $4.7 billion in general revenue dollars for state Medicaid obligations.
Although the provisions do not fund all state Medicaid obligations, they target those obligations that the federal government has required be paid with 30 days in order to earn the enhanced rate for federal matching funds associated with the federal economic stimulus package.
The stimulus provisions require a 30-day payment cycle for hospitals, nursing homes, and practitioner services.
SENATE TO CONSIDER GERRYMANDERING REFORM
A special hearing on gerrymandering reform is planned for July 22 in the 16th Floor Hearing Room of the James R. Thompson Center.
The hearing is the first of four planned by the Senate Committee on Redistricting to receive testimony on how Illinois can reform its current system of drawing legislative and congressional district boundaries, to curb the political gerrymandering that lies at the heart of much of Illinois’ political gridlock and excessive partisanship.
Other hearings are planned for August 19 in Peoria, September 16 in Carbondale, and October 14 in Springfield.