Top Leaders Question Spending Caps, Education Cuts

Mar 11, 2013

The top leaders of the General Assembly are sending strong signals they won't go along with parts of Governor Pat Quinn's budget.  They're insistent Illinois spend less than the Governor has proposed. 

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan

Governor Quinn wants to spend $35.6 billion dollars from the state's main checking account.  But the House already set a cap that limits spending to a half billion dollars less.  House Speaker Michael Madigan is adamant the state hold to it.

"That's the cap that we're going to work with.  We're not going to go over that cap.  There will be a difference with the Governor.  But it’s not the end of the budget making.  We’ll continue to work with the governor even though we’ll have some differences with him." - Michael Madigan

Quinn shouldn't count on getting support in the Senate to spend more.  President John Cullerton says his chamber will adopt the House's, lower limit, then work with the Governor to reconcile the difference.  But Cullerton also says he's against Quinn's recommendation to cut education funding by $400 million.

"So now we have to go in and see if we can find some way to restore some of those monies to education." - John Cullerton

The three Democrats agree -  as do their Republican counterparts - that the state's increasing pension obligations are what's putting so much strain on the budget.  But so far, there's no deal to rein in those costs.

Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky contributed to this report.