Gov. Pat Quinn announced plans Thursday to close seven state agencies, which, along with other cuts, will eliminate more than 1,900 jobs in an effort to contend with the state's substantial budget shortfall.
The list of state facilities on the chopping block includes the Chester Mental Health Center, which has 464 staff members, the Logan Correctional Center with 270 security guards and 87 non-security workers, and the Tinley Park Mental Health Center, which has 195 staff members, according to the governor's office. Most of the 1,938 layoffs will be related to these closures.
Quinn justified the move, which he predicts will save the state $313 million, blaming lawmakers who he said gave him a budget that was $2.2 billion less than he requested, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
"Members of the General Assembly cannot run away from what they did in the spring," Quinn said, according to the Chicago Tribune. "Some of them patted themselves on the back for it."
The closures and cuts violate a no-layoff deal Quinn signed in 2010 with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, who say they're likely to sue to enforce it, Crain's Chicago Business reports. Quinn argues that the limited budget forced his hand.
"I have to abide by the will of the General Assembly. They passed the budget that requires reductions, and therefore, we'll have to carry those reductions out," said Quinn, according to ABC7 Chicago.
Quinn says he hopes lawmakers will uphold his $376 million in budget vetoes and restore some funding to "help mitigate" the impact of these closures and layoffs, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Lawmakers need "a rendezvous with reality," Quinn said, according to Crain's.
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