Gov. Pat Quinn today moved to lay off more than 1,900 state workers and close seven state facilities as part of a plan to cut the state budget.
The governor sought to blame state lawmakers for giving him a state budget that was $2.2 billion less than he wanted.
"Members of the General Assembly cannot run away from what they did in the spring," Quinn said. "Some of them patted themselves on the back for it."
"It's time for a rendezvous with reality," he added.
Lawmakers will return to the Capitol next month for the fall session and the governor's actions today are an effort to put pressure on them the next several weeks before they head back to Springfield.
The administration is seeking to close mental health centers in southwest suburban Tinley Park, Rockford and downstate Chester. The governor also is seeking to close facilities for the developmentally disabled in downstate and the Illinois Youth Center at Murphysboro and Logan Correctional Center.
Republican Sen. Matt Murphy ofPalatine immediately launched into a full-scale criticism of Quinn, saying the governor can’t manage a budget supported by the billions of dollars more raised from the 67 percent income tax increase that Democrats imposed in January.
Murphy said he would not criticize the “concept” of cutting. But he questioned whether the facilities Quinn targeted for closure are in districts where lawmakers have refused to go along with his plan, suggesting the closures represented “political payback.”
Quinn said he had to act sooner rather than later.
"I can't wait until some time in the future and hope money comes from re-allocation, the federal government or somewhere else," Quinn said. "We can't run out of money in April, May or June. That wouldn't be responsible."
Quinn said the moves he made today have a $54.8 million impact, and he’s calling for legislators uphold his $376 million in June 30 budget vetoes to free up money and restore the funds to “help mitigate” the moves to close facilities and layoffs more than 1,900.
Quinn said the 1,938 layoffs mostly track with the facility closures. The administration must give at least 30 days notice on layoffs and any facility closures would have to be run through a panel of state lawmakers.
Quinn's proposal is expected to face tough resistance from the state's largest employee union due to an election-year agreement Quinn struck last year to not do layoffs or closures through June 2012. On Tuesday, Quinn said that deal is moot because the General Assembly did not provide enough funding.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times