Illinois State Budget
9:51 am
Fri July 1, 2011

Quinn signs new Ill. state budget, makes changes first

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky used in this report. 

Mere hours before the start of a new fiscal year, Ill. Governor Pat Quinn signed a new state budget into law. But not without making some changes to it.

Immediately after legislators sent Quinn a budget, he panned it for not spending enough - especially when it comes to education.

So, it may seem counterintuitive that Quinn cut another $712 million out of it. But it's part of a larger strategy.

The governor has no power to add money; he can only reduce spending. By making cuts, Quinn could try forcing more cash go to his priorities.

Quinn's budget director, David Vaught, said he hopes, "people will applaud what the governor's done, I think he's done a good job here."

Many of Quinn's cuts echo his original budget ideas, even though legislators rejected them.   For instance, Quinn put zero dollars toward regional education superintendents' salaries and he cut state support for school buses.

Quinn says he made other cuts because the General Assembly paid for some items twice.He also cut the state's reimbursement to hospitals caring for Medicaid patients. 

Vaught says the goal is to force a revamp of the Medicaid rate structure. 

Legislators are scheduled to meet next in October.  Vaught says they don't have to return before then.  The rest of the budget is already in effect.  When they are back at the capitol, they could agree with Quinn's changes, or vote to restore the money.