Illinois
3:39 pm
Mon February 21, 2011

Quinn waited to sign state budgeting law, timing draws criticism

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

A new Illinois law is supposed to clamp down on state government's habit of overspending. But, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn waited until after his budget presentation to sign it.

It happens often: a governor proposes a spending plan that includes a major proposal to bring in more money.  When legislators don't approve the revenue generating idea, there's a huge hole in the budget. The new law seeks to prevent that.  It says a governor can only use existing, available revenues when outlining the state budget.

Republican Representative Dave Winters says Governor Pat Quinn's budget proposal violates the law, which may be why Quinn waited until a couple of hours after giving his speech to sign it. Winters says the timing's disingenuous:

"It's a slap in the face at the effort... to take our budgeting responsibility as legislators seriously, and then, it really was almost a direct, 'I'll do what I want' and then, 'oh yeah that is a good idea' but 'unfortunately signed it a couple of hours after it really would have had a major impact,' " Winters said.

Quinn's proposal counts on a nearly $9 billion borrowing plan's passage,  although Republicans remain opposed.

The governor's office says Quinn fully supports the new budgeting methods, but that there simply wasn't enough time to fully implement them before his address.