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Fri November 27, 2009
Illinois Borrowing Plan Remains in Limbo
Springfield, IL – As the State of Illinois struggles to pay its bills, a borrowing plan to provide temporary relief remains on hold.
Lawmakers seem to have no appetite for raising taxes or making drastic cuts to the budget. As a result, the only other solution - for now - seems to be going further in debt.
Governor Pat Quinn wants to borrow another $900 million. It would provide cash flow and enable Illinois to keep operating over the next few months.
The plan can be done without the legislature's approval, but it will require approval from from both the State Treasurer and Comptroller.
Quinn and Comptroller Dan Hynes are facing off in the Democratic primary for Governor, which adds political drama to the budgetary problems.
Well over a month after Quinn asked for an agreement on borrowing, Hynes says no decision has been made.
"There's been discussion about the borrowing," says Hynes. "But there seem to be a lot of moving figures and concepts. So we're not at point where a decision can be made."
Illinois has already borrowed heavily in the past year. That money needs to be paid off in a few months.
Thomson Prison Update
Meanwhile, Governor Pat Quinn continues to push for the sale of an an empty state prison in western Illinois.
Quinn believes the Thomson Correctional Center is worth millions of dollars to the federal government.
"We'll get a fair market value," says Quinn. "It'll be in the tens of millions of dollars for the prison. If that happens, I think we can put that money to good use to put people to work here in Illinois."
The prison was inspected by the federal government in mid-November. The feds are considering the site for housing terrorism suspects from Guantanomo Bay, Cuba.
If the federal government buys Thomson, it would create the second Supermax prison in the United States.
Quinn says no prisoner has ever escaped a Supermax.
Thanks to Illinois Public Radio