The state acknowledged the depth of its money trouble in a court
filing last week in a legal battle with the American Federation of
State, County and Municipal Employees over $75 million in raises
that Quinn canceled for about 30,000 state workers.
Quinn has said
he can't pay the raises because he says lawmakers didn't give him
enough money in the budget to do it.
"The General Assembly adopted a budget for these various agencies
that is very, very sparse indeed in some cases, and we have to not
give raises -- that's No. 1 -- and we may have to do other things as
well in order to maintain core services," Quinn said Monday after
arriving home from a weeklong educational trip to Israel.
In a court filing, the state said 12 of the 14 agencies where
employees had their raises canceled don't have enough money to make
payroll through the end of the fiscal year next June even without
the raises. The cash-strapped state has been trying to navigate a
deficit that includes a mountain of unpaid bills.
Anders Lindall, a spokesman for AFSCME Council 31, blasted Quinn
for provoking "a wasteful legal battle with those who do the real
work of state government" because employee raises aren't the root
cause of the problem.
"The state's filing essentially admits that the cost of the
negotiated pay schedule is minor compared to the broader budget
crisis. The governor should focus on fixing the budget to meet all
the state's obligations, not only to state employees but the
citizens they serve," Lindall said.
The union has sued the governor in federal court and taken its
case about the raises to an arbitrator. The arbitrator ruled Quinn
had to pay but the governor appealed in Cook County Circuit Court
and won a reprieve last week when a judge temporarily halted the
[to top of second column]
Quinn, a Democrat from Chicago, said Monday that he signed the
budget lawmakers passed in May because it was better to have one
even with "shortcomings" and "flaws."
If the Democrat-controlled General Assembly hadn't passed a
budget by June, Republicans would have gotten a say because
different rules apply and more votes would be needed to pass it.
Quinn said Republicans would have pressed for deep budget cuts.
"I did not want that crowd to have an opportunity to enact that
kind of budget that would have been hurtful to our state," Quinn
Illinois Republican Party chairman Pat Brady blasted Quinn.
"I guess Democrats' calls for bipartisanship are just a one-way
street," Brady said in a statement.
By DEANNA BELLANDI]
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