Your NPR news source

Blagojevich Cuts Budget, Tells Agencies to Hold Back Money

SHARE Blagojevich Cuts Budget, Tells Agencies to Hold Back Money

Governor Rod Blagojevich has sliced nearly $1.5 billion from the state budget. Health care programs, public transportation and higher education will all face cuts. But the governor and other public officials will get raises.

Blagojevich says he was forced to wield the budget ax because the spending plan the General Assembly approved was unbalanced.

BLAGOJEVICH: It’s tantamount to writing a check that you know is going to bounce.

He says he’d warned lawmakers that cuts would be coming unless the House approved plans to cover the budget hole. He says he was forced to follow through on his threats because House Democrats failed to take action.

Along with the budget cuts, the Governor says he’s also ordering state agencies to hold back money. That could leave state services and employees in limbo. One item Blagojevich didn’t trim was an annual cost-of-living-increase for himself, legislators and other state officials. His office says the nearly 4 percent pay bump is required by law. As for the cuts Blagojevich made, the General Assembly now has about two weeks to decide on whether to restore them.

The Latest