Gov. Pat Quinn's budget speech Wednesday raised concerns among local lawmakers.
Sen. James Clayborne, D-Belleville, who is the Senate Majority Leader, said he's concerned about the governor's proposed education cuts.
"The governor's plan to cut nearly $400 million from K-12 education will be devastating," said Clayborne, who recently returned to work after recovering from a kidney transplant. "Now more than ever we need to invest in our children's education; instead, the governor is siphoning funds away from of our schools and not increasing the corrections budget."
Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon, said the state can't keep increasing its spending. He said 49 of 59 state agencies under the governor's control will actually see their budgets increase.
"The revenue expected to come in during the next budget year will be the most revenue Illinois government has ever received," McCarter said. "The governor and his allies in the Legislature passed a $7 billion-a-year tax increase two years ago.Revenue is way up.They promised to pay off old bills and reduce spending when they passed the 67 percent state income tax increase, but today Illinois is deeper in debt and our overdue bills have increased 20 percent."
McCarter also said Quinn needs to offer his own pension plan.
"There are six or seven pension bills out there, including one I introduced.He should pick one or pick parts of several and show us his plan," McCarter said. "He shouldn't threaten downstate educators and children to get what he wants.He's the Governor; he should lead."
Rep. Dwight Kay, R-Glen Carbon, also criticized the planned cut in education spending, saying it "will have a detrimental effect on schools throughout the state, especially downstate schools. These schools have already absorbed millions in cuts and unpaid bills already, asking them to take another hit will severely affect vital services."
But Kay also criticized increased spending in the governor's proposal.
"This financial crisis is getting out of control day by day, and the governor's only real solution is to increase spending $1.9 billion," Kay said. "These spending increases are nearly twice the expected revenues and only serve to plunge us further into debt. We must remain within Illinois' projected revenue."
Rep. Charlie Meier, R-Okawville, said Quinn's proposed cuts and expenditures are in the wrong places.
"Last year the governor got up and said we need to close Murray Center, when that's the last thing we should do. This year the governor gets up and says we need to cut hundreds of millions from education funding while at the same time expanding Medicaid, when that's the last thing we should do. At least he's consistent," Meier said.
The state is in the process of closing the Warren G. Murray Developmental Center in Centralia, a center for people with developmental disabilities. Quinn says moving the residents to "community care" will give them a better quality of live and save money.
"The governor said the state has saved $100 million by closing 54 state facilities, which includes Murray Center," Meier said. "I can't believe he has the nerve to brag about saving $100 million on the backs of the developmentally disabled while, in the same speech, expanding state spending by $1.9 billion. It's so out of touch, it's inhuman."