(Chicago, IL) — December 17, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn will likely be making mid-year cuts to the out-of-whack Illinois budget, according to multiple sources.
“It’s not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’ mid-year cuts will come according to (House) staff,” said a long-time lobbyist with close ties to House legislative budget staff.
The Illinois Department of Human Services, for example, is currently staring at a $250 million hole in its current budget, according to an administration source.
“We have run out of shells to shuffle around the table,” said the source.
Officially, the Governor’s office is not completely discouraging mid-year budget cut speculation.
“We are always looking for further budget cuts, reductions and efficiencies,” said Kelly Kraft, the spokesperson for the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget.
The foreshadowed mid-year budget cuts would most likely come in early January to coincide with the legislature’s waning veto session in order to inject maximum political impact behind a possible income tax increase deal.
Illinois GOP lawmakers have demanded deeper budget cuts–beyond the $3 billion Quinn has cut so far, Medicaid reforms, and works compensation changes before they would consider supplying votes for a tax increase. With Medicaid and workers comp reforms already under legislative discussion, mid-year budget cuts would be the last piece of the package to deal with the state’s $15 billion deficit.
Blood may soon begin to flow from the budget stones.