Democrats weigh-in on Quinn’s FY 2013 Budget Address

Lt. Governor Simon’s FY13 Budget Statement


SPRINGFIELD, IL – Following the Governor’s budget address, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon recognized state agencies that voluntarily made cuts to help balance the fiscal year 2013 budget and encouraged state residents to participate in public hearings that will be held on proposed facility closures.

“A responsible budget must be based on real revenue. With pension and Medicaid costs eating up more of our tax dollars, we must reduce spending. As Lt. Governor, I worked hard to cut 9 percent of our budget, and applaud the other agencies who scoured their operations to do the same. As a Southern Illinois resident, I am disappointed that the state is proposing facility closures in areas that already suffer from high unemployment. I encourage the people whose livelihoods will be affected to join me in the budget process and speak up as we review the economic impact of such closures.”

Simon’s fiscal year 2013 appropriation request is more than 9 percent lower than her budget request from fiscal year 2012 and includes a reduction in full-time staff, from 24 to 21 members. The appropriation request is the lowest in at least 16 years and will net taxpayers a savings of nearly $200,000. In FY12, Simon is the only constitutional officer to return the equivalent of 12 days pay to the General Revenue Fund. Her senior staff voluntarily is taking four unpaid furlough days in FY12, as well.            

As the Governor’s point person on education reform and a member of the Budgeting for Results Commission, Simon recently announced a community college reform package that will use existing state resources to increase college completion rates. As chair of the Classrooms First Commission, Simon is developing recommendations that will make elementary and high school districts more efficient.

Senate President Cullerton responds to Quinn’s Budget Address

 “It’s clear that the Governor will begin to address the pressures created by Medicaid and pensions costs through bipartisan working groups that can propose solutions. I look forward to working with the Governor to address these issues this session. I hope all members of the General Assembly will consider the true cost of inaction in these two areas. 

Our increasing Medicaid liability clearly illustrates the need for action. If we do nothing this session, next year’s budget will need to accommodate an additional $2.7 billion over last year. We simply can’t afford that burden.  I’m confident that we will identify additional cost-cutting solutions while protecting the most vulnerable recipients.

The Governor’s proposal to make the estimated $5 billion pension payment demonstrates his commitment to meet our obligations.  But we can’t afford to ignore the fact that this growing obligation is pressuring other necessary programs and services.  It’s time to take the next leap forward in comprehensive pension reforms that control costs while preserving the constitutional rights of current employees and retirees. Unlike Indiana and Wisconsin, we intend to work with unions to accomplish this goal.

I’m pleased that the Governor’s plan appears to be balanced and realistic. Today he struck the appropriate tone needed to identify our challenges and outline some of the tough choices that will be made this year.”

State Senator Mattie Hunter (Chicago):

“While this budget proposal does not meet the priorities of my district, I am looking forward to negotiating with my colleagues on passing a responsible, balanced budget this year.  We need to focus on our Medicaid payment shortfall and protecting safety net programs.”

State Senator Kwame Raoul (Chicago)

“This budget makes some tough decisions, but the thing to remember is that it’s just a proposal. The General Assembly needs to evaluate the governor’s plan, prioritize, and make sure that in this time of needed shared sacrifice, an undue burden is not put on the most vulnerable citizens of our state. ”

State Senator Jaqueline Collins (Chicago)

“My budget priorities center around promoting efficiency in government without unraveling the safety net for society’s most vulnerable populations. When we give large tax breaks to corporations, there are negative repercussions for our revenue stream. Sacrifice must be shared, not disproportionately assigned to those who can least afford to shoulder it.”

State Senator Donne Trotter (Chicago)

“I think the governor’s budget proposal is going to bring our state back to the status it should be in.  In summary I think he wants to bring the state to a healthy place.  What I would like to see or what hasn’t been addressed is money put toward job training and vocational training for people who are out of work, I think that is very important for our citizens who are in that situation.”

State Senator James Meeks (Chicago)

“The budget numbers that the governor gave us are not the same that the Senate has or the House has… For all the years I’ve been here, those numbers are never the same. The Governor doesn’t have the authority or power to enact anything that he said; that power rests in with the legislators. Now it’s up to whether or not the General Assembly is going to agree with anything the governor has said. All of these facilities that the governor wants to close are in legislators’ districts.  You better believe that those people are going to fight like the Dickens to not allow their facilities to be closed.”