Quinn prepares for budget address, Republicans ramp up criticism

February 14, 2011

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(AP/Seth Perlman)
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn delivers his budget address last year to a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly.

Illinois' Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn is not giving many details about what he'll propose in his upcoming budget address. The speech is scheduled to take place later this week. Quinn recently spoke with reporters, where he talked generally about what he'll be saying in Wednesday's budget address.

"I'm gonna lay out a budget that's a fair budget," he said.

Last month, the governor signed legislation raising income and corporate taxes to help curb a multi-billion dollar deficit. Quinn said the state owes $8.7 billion to vendors he's proposing restructuring the state's debt to help pay that money.

"If you can get a lower interest rate on money you already owe, it's prudent to do that," Quinn said.

Meantime, Democratic Speaker of the House Michael Madigan has suggested cutting the pensions of current state employees, but Quinn wouldn't endorse that idea.

"We have a decent pension system for public employees in Illinois," Quinn said. "We always have to maintain fairness and we comply with the law and the constitution."

Quinn said he's made $3 billion in budget cuts since taking office.

Some Republican legislators remain critical of the governor for raising taxes. No Republicans in the state House or Senate supported those measures.

Republican State Sen. Matt Murphy says he wants Quinn to repeal the tax increases and make more spending cuts.

"If you've got a governor who's committed to managing, you can wring savings out of departments. You can demand it. We haven't seen that happen yet," Murphy said.

Murphy says given the state's budget problems, he would be open to cutting education funding.