By Christopher Wills and Deanna Bellandi
Published on the Huffington Post
Illinois faces a deficit of roughly $13 billion, the largest in state
history. The cuts Quinn announced Thursday reduce that, but there's
still a $6 billion gap between expenses and revenue in the coming year
and about $6 billion in unpaid bills from last year.
That shortfall equals half the budget's general funds, where state
officials have broad authority to raise or lower spending.
Quinn had wanted to reduce the deficit by raising income taxes, but
legislators ignored that idea. They also refused to say where the budget
should be cut, leaving that to Quinn.
"They didn't want to put their fingerprints on any reductions or any
cuts whatsoever," Quinn said.
Lawmakers gave Quinn authority to paper over the deficit by taking
money out of special funds, borrowing against future revenue and simply
letting bills go unpaid until the next fiscal year.
At one point, Quinn seemed to suggest he considers the budget
"There's no hole left," he said.
Sen. Matt Murphy, a budget expert for Senate Republicans, questioned
whether Quinn will actually make the cuts he's promising. He said
Quinn's outline contained "a lot more fiction, I think, than fact."
Kristina Rasmussen, executive vice president for the conservative
Illinois Policy Institute, called Quinn's cuts "very timid." If he
wanted to bring spending into line with state revenues, she said, Quinn
should have cut something like $4.6 billion.
She said that in all his cuts, Quinn killed only one program – a fund
that keeps schools from losing state money as enrollment dwindles.
"Is that the bold leadership the state needs?" Rasmussen asked.
Read the full article on the Huffington Post.