Illinois Governor Pat Quinn on Tuesday admitted that the reports about thousands of state employee layoffs and facility closures across the state shortly are true.
As the Chicago Tribune reports, Quinn is expected to announce the closure of several facilities, including a prison, juvenile detention center and homes for the mentally ill and disabled, this week. Further, thousands of state workers will be laid off, despite the Democratic governor's previous promise to AFSCME, the state's largest public employee union, that no layoffs were coming down the pike.
The layoffs and closures are necessary, Quinn said, because the state's General Assembly did not appropriate enough funding in the budget they approved to keep the state operating for the entirety of the fiscal year ahead, NBC Chicago reports. He has thus far declined to say how many jobs will be cut nor which specific facilities will be impacted.
(Scroll down to watch Quinn responding to reports of his plans for statewide cutbacks.)
"We can't spend money we don't have," Quinn said Tuesday, as reported by NBC Chicago. "We have to do what we have to do."
In response to Quinn's move, AFSCME is expected to sue, as they did in July after the governor canceled $75 million in raises for 30,000 state workers. The union said they have yet to receive any notification from the governor's office about the planned cutbacks, but said such a course of action would be "in direct violation of negotiated agreements with our union," Capitol Fax reports.
"Moreover, it would have a dire impact on the maintenance of public safety and the delivery of services of vital importance to the people of Illinois," AFSCME said in a statement.
The union urged Quinn to "work with the General Assembly to forestall service cuts and layoffs" by appropriating more funding for the state's budget, adding that "there is certainly not a funding crisis at this point in time. There is merely a crisis of will."
State Republican leaders are likely to have a different take on the union's call for further appropriations, as the four highest-ranking GOP leaders in Springfield last month trashed Quinn's borrowing plan for the state and called for even further cuts to the budget.
State Senator and former gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) described Quinn's planned layoffs as "a political document" in conversation with WJBC and conjectured that many of the facility closures, in particular, would more heavily impact Republican-dominated areas in the state.
"I assume it will be a political document. It will be interesting to see how many of these facilities are in areas where Democrats are running," Brady told WJBC of his former rival. "He's turning into a blowhard that has no credibility in the General Assembly."WATCH Quinn discuss the cuts here:
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