WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Quinn Still Wants to Borrow

Springfield, IL – Illinois Governor Pat Quinn still believes borrowing must be part of any state budget.

"For those who are running around Illinois saying we can't borrow money: every state in the union does this. It's proper fiscal techniques," Quinn said on May 12.

At least one Republican vote is needed from the House for a major borrowing plan to pass. But Representative Skip Saviano (R-Elmwood Park) said he and fellow GOP members have not been asked for input.

"I'm not allowed to be part of the solution, part of the process to solve the problem. By throwing just good money after bad, we're just putting a Band-Aid on the big problem," said Saviano.

Quinn said he's in vigorous talks with lawmakers from both parties as he tries to reach a deal. The governor said he's also counting on a stalled cigarette tax increase to pass.

Another obstacle in state budget talks is legislators' unwillingness to give Quinn so-called "emergency powers."

A plan that passed the Senate, but still needs approval from the House, gives Quinn extra authority to make budget decisions. The proposal would give him more freedom to cut spending and programs.

Quinn said he won't give up on trying to gain those powers as he tries to reach a budget deal.

Quinn said he took on the responsibility last year when the General Assembly refused to approve cuts. The governor said he'll do it again this year while trying to preserve government's core priorities.

"That's education for our children and all of us, it's making sure we have decent health for everybody, it's making sure we have public safety and human services. That's what I'll do. I think people can have full confidence in my ability to do the right thing," Quinn said.

But some legislators say they're wary of giving so much latitude to a governor whom they fault for not doing a good job of managing this year's budget.

It's possible some lawmakers also fear Quinn will take aim at a program that's important in their district. Some might want guarantees their favorite programs will be protected.

Quinn hinted he might bring the legislators back to Springfield for special sessions. He said the legislature "isn't going home" until there's a budget that adequately funds education.

Thanks to Illinois Public Radio