Ill. Senate Approves Cuts to Governor Quinn’s Budget Plan
It happened without much fanfare, but the deed is done. Governor Pat Quinn is being presented with a budget that cuts $2.3 billion from the one he proposed in February.
The measure reduces school funding, it whacks state support for child care, and decreases Medicaid funding for the poor. It also gives three percent less to education for the coming year that begins in July.
The measure had earlier passed the House with bipartisan support, but it barely made it through the Senate with heavy criticism from that chamber's GOP contingent for not cutting enough.
Senate Democrats, worried about the effects of some of the cuts, voted in a separate measure, to restore about $430 million to programs, like meals on wheels for seniors and free lunch for low-income schoolchildren.
"The fact is, there are services in there for people who are the most vulnerable in our state," Senator Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge) said. "They're aged, disabled. They need services. Transitional housing for homeless people."
House Democrat Marlow Colvin of Chicago said a long day of negotiations is ahead on Tuesday to see if the House will agree with that proposal
"It's going to be quite a lesson in budget making in Springfield, Illinois," Colvin said. "Something we haven't seen in a long time."
Another unknown is how Governor Quinn will react to the budget cuts, which he has spoken out against. He can veto the budget, or specific parts of it, but he does not have power to add money.