Gov. Quinn said earlier this week thousands of state workers will be out of work because of a budget shortfall that doesn’t leave enough money to pay them. He also plans to make cuts to services, which could include closing a prison, a juvenile detention center and homes for the mentally ill.
How deep will those cuts go? Quinn will let the public in on his plans at noon at the Thompson Center.
The governor says pending layoffs aren’t his fault, insisting lawmakers sent him a budget that was $2 billion less than he wanted, causing several agencies to run out of money by spring.
Quinn already has asked for $2.2 billion more and says there’s room for the General Assembly to adjust the budget.
When asked Tuesday to confirm the cuts included thousands of jobs, Quinn told reporters, “We have to do what we have to do.” At the same time he maintained, “Our number one priority is jobs.”
As for Illinois residents, they’re concerned about what’s ahead.
“It’s taken many years to get us here,” said resident Ray Jast on his way to work Thursday morning. “In one sense you can sympathize with Quinn, but you know, Quinn and the other people in the Assembly have been part of the problem for a long time.”
“I don’t feel that people should be fired and laid off for mismanagement of money,” said commuter Andrea Cesaro.
The state’s largest government employee union, AFSCME, promises to sue if the layoffs are made, much like they did over blocked pay raises.