Quinn defends cuts to state employee raises

July 5, 2011

The Associated Press and Lauren Chooljian

(AP/Seth Perlman)
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is defending his reasoning for cutting pay raises to nearly 300,000 state employees.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is defending his reasoning for cutting pay raises to nearly 300,000 state employees. He told reporters Tuesday he's willing to go to court over the cuts, as he believes he was following the law.

"If they decide to sue that's their right, we will be happy to meet them in court," Quinn said.  "But the bottom line if you look at the law of Illinois, it says over and over again -- subject to appropriations."

Quinn said the Illinois General Assembly did not appropriate enough funding to cover the raises, and therefore he had to cut them from the budget. But unions like the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees contend that the raises are spelled out in government union contracts. AFSCME rejects the claim that the tight budget approved by legislators allows Quinn to skip the raises.

"At the end of the day, this matter is not about a scheduled increase. It's not about a 2 percent pay increase, though it is due and it is owed," said Anders Lindall, AFSCME spokesman.  "This is about integrity. It's about the integrity of collective bargaining in the state of Illinois. It's about the integrity of the governor who gave his word."

Lindall said AFSCME is consulting with its attorneys about possible legal action concerning the raises.