In addition, the top legislative leaders, including Senate
Republican Leader Christine Radogno, had their first meeting with
new Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn.
The looming topic in the General Assembly is likely to be the
state budget. A report released during the week by the state
comptroller indicated Illinois could face a $9 billion budget hole.
While others are skeptical of the exact number, almost no one
disputes that Illinois faces a massive budget crisis after six years
of overspending and budget gimmicks.
The fiscal 2009 budget hole was made worse because majority
Democrats in the legislature decided last year to punt the budget to
the governor. They purposely sent then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich an
out-of-balance budget and simply trusted the notoriously
untrustworthy governor to "manage" the budget.
It's unknown how the new governor will fill the gap, but he has
requested an additional month to pull together his fiscal 2010
budget proposal. Quinn now has until March 18 to deliver his first
budget address. Republican lawmakers are stressing the need to first
scale back programs and halt any expansions.
[Text from file received from the