"Earlier this year I was forced to make difficult decisions in order
to balance the budget that (the) General Assembly sent to me, which
was over $2 billion out of balance. To fix the budget, I made $1.4
billion in reductions, of which the General Assembly chose to
restore only $230 million. Unfortunately the poor national economy
has caused revenue to come in at a slower rate than projected, so
again we are facing a $2 billion budget deficit.
"In this poor
budget situation, I am asking for support from state legislators and
constitutional officers to help manage the budget. I also ask
Illinoisans to understand that closing a few sites and making
reductions are decisions that I don't want to make, but decisions
that have to be made so that we can balance Illinois' $2 billion
budget deficit. In turn, I will continue to take steps to reduce the
shortfall so that Illinois has a budget that works."
On Nov. 20, Blagojevich acted on a supplemental appropriations
Bill 1103) passed by the General Assembly to restore $175.9
million in funding for several reductions made earlier this year.
With the governor's action, funding is available for substance-abuse
treatment centers, Department of Children and Family Services
front-line staff, the Regional Transit Authority reduced-fare
subsidy, and other core services. But due to a $2 billion budget
deficit and concerns about some of the funds swept in the fund
transfer legislation passed by the General Assembly, seven state
parks (out of 325 Department of Natural Resources lands) and 12
historic sites closed Nov. 30.
[to top of second column]
In July, the General Assembly passed a budget that was more than $2
billion out of balance, and the governor cut $1.4 billion to manage
this budget. In September, the General Assembly passed a bill to
transfer funds (Senate Bill 790), as well as the supplemental
appropriations bill (Senate Bill 1103) to appropriate $230.9 million
in spending. In October, Blagojevich signed
Senate Bill 790 but emphasized his concern regarding the state's
ability to transfer dollars out of several of the funds selected by
the General Assembly.
Due to lagging revenues, it has become apparent that now the
state's budget again has a $2 billion budget deficit. With
unemployment up, consumer spending down and Wall Street's negative
impact on Illinois business, revenues have already fallen $1 billion
short of budget levels. As in many other states, economists warn
that if the economy continues to worsen, so will Illinois' budget.
To manage the budget, the governor has proposed a plan to reduce
spending, request federal stimulus aid and use short-term borrowing
to get dollars to providers who urgently need payment.
[Text from file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]