So many that Republicans in the state Senate say they're having a
hard time figuring out the total price tag.
The Senate Republicans
on Thursday released an analysis of Quinn's proposals that lawmakers
say shows only $200 million in cuts, not the $2.6 billion the
governor's office claims.
But the GOP numbers also shift and are based on claims that new
spending and the costs of borrowing almost $6 billion eat away at
the cuts proposed by the governor.
State Sen. Matt Murphy, R-Palatine, said the Quinn administration
did not factor in $400 million in debt service in its budget and
glosses over plans to put back money for schools and local
governments if lawmakers approve an income tax increase.
Not that Murphy believes the governor will get his 1 percent
"surcharge for education."
"What's he going to do when, not if, but when he doesn't get his
33 percent income tax hike? Or when he doesn't get the i-tunes tax,
or the manufacturers' credit tax," Murphy asked. "Is he going to
borrow more money?"
Quinn on Thursday said he's not going to seek the so-called i-tunes
tax, which would have taxed digital music or video downloads.
Instead, he's sticking with his call for an income tax increase from
3 percent to 4 percent. He did not respond directly to Murphy’s
But both Republican and Democrats believe it's unlikely the
governor will get the tax increase, especially in an election year
during a recession with statewide unemployment topping 11 percent.
But Murphy believes that just because the governor's tax hike
appears to be dead, that doesn't mean the rest of the Quinn budget
can be dismissed.
"Everybody says, 'You know the Democratic leaders in the General
Assembly are going to dismiss this out of hand.' But let's remember
that he is the governor ... and we need to take seriously Gov. Quinn's
[to top of second column]
The Republican proposal centers on deeper cuts to
state spending than Quinn has proposed and in much different areas.
State Sen. Chris Lauzen, R-Aurora, said the state could find as
much as $3 billion to cut -- but only if lawmakers roll back
Medicaid spending and change pension benefits for current public
Those ideas seem even more politically unlikely than Quinn's tax
hike, especially since the state constitution protects public
pensions for current workers.
State Sen. Tim Bivins, R-Dixon, said the state should start with
a hiring freeze and a spending freeze.
"What I see are agencies coming in and filling jobs and giving
pay raises ... creating positions that never existed before, such as
the kayak czar, and I know that has been rescinded ... but also as
chief recruiting office in the state police, even though we're not
going to hire anyone for two years."
Legislative leaders will meet on Friday in another attempt to
start budget negotiations. The General Assembly is scheduled to
adjourn May 7.
Statehouse News; By BENJAMIN YOUNT]