Springfield, IL – Illinois Governor Pat Quinn said the state's budget problems amount to "crisis of epic proportion." During his budget address to state lawmakers, Quinn also said state government is in a battle against a massive budget deficit and it's a battle the state can't afford to lose.
Quinn said the deficit in the upcoming year will reach $13 billion. Quinn said the state has to get rid of that deficit and strengthen state finances or pay the price for years to come.
He's calling for more than $2 billion in budget cuts, including major cuts to education.
Quinn, a Democrat, specifically rejected the idea of across-the-board cuts, which have been proposed by his Republican opponent for governor, Bill Brady. Quinn called that a "chain saw" approach.
Quinn spoke for less than half-an-hour. Toward the end of his speech, he urged lawmakers to raise income taxes to avoid deep cuts in spending on schools and colleges.
Quinn proposed an increase of one percentage point. He did not say how much money the increase would raise or what he means by a tax "surcharge."
But he said the increase would be enough to avoid many of the education cuts included his proposed budget.
Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno says Quinn is using education as a ploy to pressure lawmakers to agree to a tax increase.
"I absolutely think he's upping the gamesmanship. There's no question about it, and the thing is, it just a a tired out tactic in so many communities and it hasn't worked," said Radogno.
Quinn also recommended cutting the amount of income tax money the state shares with municipalities. Macomb Mayor Mick Wisslead says his city would lose $463,000 under the plan. Wisslead also says the state is three months behind in distributing income tax money to cities.
Quinn is calling his budget plan Fighting for Illinois. You can take a look at the plan and/or propose a solution for solving the state's budget crisis by visiting the state's budget site.
Fighting for Illinois contains five major components: creating jobs, cutting costs, strategic borrowing, continued federal assistance, and increased state revenues.
Thanks to the Illinois Associated Press