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Illinois Lawmakers Grill Budget Director

By AP/KWMU

Springfield, Ill – Democrats and Republicans joined together in grilling the governor's budget director over Illinois government's growing debt Thursday.

They accuse Governor Rod Blagojevich of trying to solve current budget problems by borrowing money, creating more problems for the future.

Officials argue the Democratic governor's borrowing is structured so that very little has to be repaid now. Most comes due 20 and 30 years down the road.

But budget director John Filan says the borrowing is being handled responsibly. He says it's a legitimate way to deal with the state's budget problems.

Last year, the state faced a roughly $5 billion deficit.

This year the red ink is at least $1.7 billion.

Filan says the debt restrictions proposed by some officials would ultimately hurt the state.

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