Illinois budget

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School buses might be the next victim of the Illinois budget crisis.

Education officials are considering a proposal to let schools stop offering free bus service. They could either get rid of the buses or charge for carrying students each day.

The change would be part of a new system for distributing state money for student transportation. The State Board of Education could introduce legislation this week.

The Illinois Association of School Boards says transportation spending has been slashed 42 percent since 2010.

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Updated 1:56 p.m. with correction from The Associated Press on Medicaid percentage. 

Virtually all parts of state government would be forced to cut spending under a budget outline approved by the Illinois House.

The measure requires cutting Medicaid by $2.7 billion, or about 14 percent (percentage earlier read 25 percent, has been corrected). Spending on services from schools to prisons would fall by about $900 million.

The House approved it 91-16 on Thursday. Now it goes to the state Senate.

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Mo. Senate preparing to send workplace discrimination bill to Nixon today

The Missouri Senate is preparing today to pass the House version of the workplace discrimination bill and send it to Governor Jay Nixon. 

Senate Democrats, however, voiced their opposition Wednesday by blocking the bill for nearly five hours. 

The filibuster was led by Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal of St. Louis County. 

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Reporting from WBEZ's Alex Keefe used in this report.

Governor Pat Quinn is defending his plan to close a super-maximum security prison in southern Illinois.

The governor's office says closing Tamms prison would save the state nearly $22 million next year. Quinn says it costs more than 64,000 per year to lock up a prisoner there - about three times the statewide average.

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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.

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