Illinois budget

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Even though the recession is over and Illinois' budget is padded with last year's income tax hike, money is still tight in state government. This puts Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn in a difficult position as he lays out his budget for the next year.

The Governor will give his budget address today at noon at the Illinois Capitol and it will be full of gloom.  And he is not even wading into the thick of the fiscal mess.  Illinois Public Radio’s Amanda Vinicky explains.

“The toughest budget we’ve ever faced.”

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Gov. Pat Quinn's proposed Illinois budget calls for closing 14 state facilities, including eight run by the Corrections Department.

A person who has seen the budget proposal told The Associated Press on Tuesday it would close four facilities run by the Human Services Department and two run by Juvenile Justice, as well as the eight Corrections Department facilities. The targeted Corrections facilities won't all be prisons.

The person was not authorized to discuss the governor's plans publicly and would speak only on the condition of anonymity.

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Updated 2:39 p.m. with report from WBEZ's Alex Keefe.

State worker pensions and Medicaid funding could be on the chopping block when Illinois' governor outlines his budget proposal this week.

Governor Pat Quinn says the budget plan he'll unveil Wednesday will bring state spending back down to where it was in 2008.

But he says the seed of the state's current fiscal mess was planted even earlier - by his predecessors.

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Gov. Pat Quinn says he'll propose closing "quite a few" Illinois state facilities in his budget address next week.

Quinn, a Democrat, did not give the Associated Press any specifics about the closures, saying details will come during his budget address next Wednesday.

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Services set for Tyler Dasher

Services are set for early next week for a 13-month-old suburban St. Louis boy who authorities say was fatally beaten by his mother.

SIUC faculty set strike date

Oct 21, 2011
(via Southern Illinois University-Carbondale)

Reporting by WSIU's Jennifer Fuller was used in this report.

The union representing tenured and tenure-track employees at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale has set a strike date.

The SIUC Faculty Association says its members will walk off the job on Nov. 3 if they cannot reach an agreement with the university on a new contract. The last contract expired in June 2010.

An arbitrator has ordered Gov. Pat Quinn to cancel his plan to lay off state employees and close several prisons and mental facilities.

Arbitrator Edwin Benn ruled Monday that Quinn's plan would violate his agreement with a major union. The Democratic governor signed a deal last year that promised no layoffs or closures if the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees agreed to various cost-cutting measures.

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A new report says Illinois remains in deep budget trouble.

The government watchdog group the Civic Federation says in a Monday report that Illinois could be $8.3 billion in the red when the fiscal year ends next June.

The news comes despite a significant boost in the state income tax rate.

The $8.3 billion includes $5.5 billion in unpaid bills and another $2.8 billion from a payment backlog for Medicaid, employee health insurance bills and business tax refunds.

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A federal judge has ruled against state employees in a dispute over whether Gov. Pat Quinn can cancel raises promised in union contracts.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees said Thursday it will appeal the ruling.

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Mo. Senate to consider new measure repealing teacher social media restrictions

A Mo. Senate committee has endorsed a measure to repeal a contentious new law restricting teachers' interaction with students over websites such as Facebook. The Senate Education Committee voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to repeal the law.

The action comes after  a Mo. judge issued an order in September blocking the new law from taking effect, citing concerns that it could violate free speech rights.

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Gov. Pat Quinn is defending signing a budget that state officials say didn't fully fund 12 of 14 agencies even before the Chicago Democrat canceled raises for thousands of state workers.

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Updated 1:21 with story from WBEZ.

Reporting from WBEZ's Sam Hudzik used in this report.

A victory today for a public employee union in Illinois.

An arbitrator says Governor Pat Quinn cannot cancel pay raises promised to state workers, but the issue is far from settled.

(Here's a link to the full text of the decision from the arbitrator)

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

A major state employee union has asked an arbitrator to decide whether Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn can cancel scheduled raises for thousands of workers.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees sought the ruling Thursday. Quinn announced last week he was canceling the $75 million in raises to help deal with the state's budget crisis.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn says he's ready to go to court over canceling pay raises for nearly 30,000 state workers.

Quinn defended his decision to deny the raises by blaming the General Assembly for not appropriating the necessary money. He said Tuesday the state can't provide the increase unless lawmakers set aside enough money.

The raises are required under state government's union contracts.

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Updated 1:39 p.m. and again at 3:27 p.m. with information about union.

Gov. Pat Quinn wants to cancel raises for thousands of state employees to help cope with the Illinois budget crisis.

The administration notified 14 state agencies and the affected unions that the 2 percent raises won't be paid as required by contract.

Quinn's office said Friday that lawmakers did not provide enough money in the new budget to cover raises for nearly 30,000 employees.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

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.

U.S. Marshals Service

Loughner can be forcibly medicated

A federal judge has ruled that prison officials can forcibly medicate Tucson shooting suspect Jared Lee Loughner with anti-psychotic drugs.

U.S. District Judge Larry Burns says he did not want to second guess doctors at a federal prison in Springfield, Mo. Burns issued the decision yesterday after Loughner's attorneys filed an emergency request to prevent any forced medication of their client.

Defense attorneys said Loughner had been forcibly medicated since June 21. 

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Ill. General Assembly Approves Budget

Schools are traditionally an area Illinois legislators have left untouched when they're looking to cut spending. But the budget the General Assembly approved Monday night gives 3 percent less to education for the coming year that begins in July.

Overall cuts are wide ranging and total $2.3 billion less than what Gov. Pat Quinn proposed  in Feb. That was enough for Republicans in the House, but the Senate GOP says it's still too rich.

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Illinois businesses waiting for long-overdue tax refunds aren't getting any good news from the state capitol.

Illinois owes about $850 million to roughly 36,000 businesses that overpaid their income taxes. Some have been waiting since 2008 to get their money.

Gov. Pat Quinn proposed borrowing money to pay the refunds, but legislators have shown little interest in that idea.

Budget proposals being considered by Democratic lawmakers would do little to chip away at the backlog.

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Illinois lawmakers have set aside billions of dollars to pay state obligations as part of what Democrats call a more responsible approach to the budget.

The state Senate sent the governor legislation that devotes nearly $8 billion to paying off debt and making pension payments.

Senate President John Cullerton said Friday the goal is to make sure the state doesn't duck these obligations or pay them with borrowed money.

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

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn's proposed budget is virtually ignored in the Illinois House leaders' bipartisan plan.

Saving money by consolidating school districts and revisions to the tax code.  These were highlights of the governor's budget plan.

But they may be doomed.  Speaker Mike Madigan dismissed them.

"I have no comment on them, I just don't plan to pursue them," Madigan said.

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.

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  • Democratic Illinois lawmakers have approved a 67% income-tax increase in a desperate bid to end the state's crippling budget crisis. Legislative leaders rushed early Wednesday morning to pass the politically risky plan before  new General Assembly was sworn in at noon. The increase now goes to Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn. He supports the plan to temporarily raise the personal tax rate to 5% from the current 3% rate. Corporate taxes also would climb.

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