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Get Out the Veto Pen: 10 Actions Gov. Quinn Must Take to Eliminate Unnecessary Spending

Get Out the Veto Pen: 10 Actions Gov. Quinn Must Take to Eliminate Unnecessary Spending

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Published by: Illinois Policy Institute on Jun 09, 2011
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 v e t o
Get Out thePen
Actions Gov. Quinnmust take to eliminateunnecessary spending
Get Out the Veto Pen
10 Actions Gov. Quinn Must Taketo Eliminate Unnecessary Spending
“We’ve been making tough choices and, I think, making a lot of accomplishments.”
– Senate President John Cullerton speaking on the budget,June 2, 2, Associated Press
Illinois lawmakers have been patting themselves on the back for supposedly holding the line on spending and getting rid of  wasteful projects. Should taxpayers buy into this newfound “scal responsibility?” No. A review by the Illinois Policy Institute found that the budget passed by the House left overall spending levels largely unchanged from last year. Additionally, many low-priority projects are slated to receive millions of dollars – dollars that decit-plagued state government doesn’t have to spare. The ball is now in Gov. Quinn’s court.In his budget address earlier this year, Gov. Quinn promised taxpayers “we will only use tax dollars to provide necessary services…all unnecessary state spending will be eliminated. Will the ink in Gov. Quinn’s veto pen run dry from the many line-item budget reductions that will be needed to honor hispledge? Taxpayers are waiting and watching.
Low Priority State Spending in Fiscal Year2012 Budget Passed by the General Assembly
1. $4,037,500: Upward Mobility Program
Central Management Services (HB124, General Revenue Fund)
 Available only to state employees who are union membersrepresented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, the UpwardMobility Program pays 100 percent of tuition costs at publicinstitutions and a set amount per credit hour at select privateuniversities. Participants can also receive nancial assistanceto pay for textbooks, fees, prociency tests, remedial classes,licensure review classes and licensure examinations. Aftercompleting the program state employees are given “special consideration in the lling of vacancies” of targeted state job titles.Illinois is in the midst of a massive budget crisis. Workers who hold state positions in Illinois already are well paid, receive generous benets and enjoy high job security. Illinois needs to prioritize spending on coregovernment services over union perks.
2. $1,057,500: DuQuoinState Fair andIllinois State Fairentertainment andaward costs
Department of Agriculture (HB124,General Revenue Fund)
Fairs may be fun, but they’re not highup on the public funding priority list – especially when the state is billions of dollarsbehind in paying service providers. The budget appropriates $652,100 for entertainment and other expenses from theDuQuoin State Fair, and $405,400 for awards and premiums at the Illinois State Fair. The DuQuoin State Fair and the Illinois State Fair have a long record of incurring expenditures thatoutweigh their revenues. Between scal years 2001 and 2009, the two fairs lost a combined total thatexceeded $41.8 million. While turning a prot may not be the purpose of the state fairs, it is unacceptablefor the state fairs to lose millions of dollars each year.States such as South Dakota, Ohio, Colorado and Kansas have reduced their fair spending to deal withbudget shortages, while Michigan recently shut down its government-run state fair. Meanwhile, Texas hasshown that a privately-run state fair that operates without government subsidy can be successful.
3. $4,214,400: Grants to Art Organizations and Individuals
Illinois Arts Council (HB124, General Revenue Fund)
 When the state is strapped for cash – and when taxpayers and core services aresuffering – certain items do not make the state’s top-priority list. Grants to artorganizations and individual artists may be nice, but they’re not necessary.Funding for the arts and related programsbelongs in the private sector, which hasdemonstrated its ability and inclination to supportcultural endeavors. Chicago, in particular, isknown for its world-class entertainment, whichdraws talent from around the globe. Strangely, thestate is still providing money to many of the city’smost prestigious organizations, despite their starpower and expansive donor base. For example,in 2009 the Illinois Arts Council gave $60,000 ingrants to the Art Institute of Chicago, which hada fund balance of $1 billion on June 30, 2008.

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