GOV. PAT QUINN (D) • March 18
The newly installed governor, in his first budget address to the Illinois legislature, vowed to close his state’s $11.6 billion deficit through tax hikes and spending cuts, though he vowed to spare K-12 education from those reductions.
Mr. Quinn, the state’s former lieutenant governor, took office as the Illinois chief executive in January, after former Gov. Rod Blagojevich was impeached by the Illinois House of Representatives and removed from office by the state Senate. Mr. Quinn inherited a budget gap of $4.3 billion for the current year, fiscal 2009, and an expected $7.3 billion deficit for fiscal 2010, out of a total state budget of $53 billion.
He pledged to trim $800 million from next year’s budget, but said he would not cut education or health care.
The governor said he wants to increase funding for prekindergarten through high school by $174 million in fiscal 2010, out of a total budget of $7.6 billion for schools. Per-pupil K-12 spending would rise by $130, to $6,089, from $5,959.
The state is expected to receive $2.8 billion in federal money over the next 2½ years to support K-12 education, according to budget documents.
“Jobs follow brainpower,” Mr. Quinn told lawmakers. “The best way to attract and keep businesses in Illinois is to offer employers a smart, well-trained workforce.”
A version of this article appeared in the April 08, 2009 edition of Education Week