Despite Illinois’ well-documented fiscal challenges, Governor Pat Quinn proposed a budget February 22 that increases spending by almost $550 million, expands state programs, and offers no plan for paying a massive backlog of bills or rolling back the Democrats’ 2011 income tax hike.

Echoing the outline his budget office released in January, Governor Quinn proposed a freeze to almost all state spending, including the big-ticket items of healthcare, welfare and education. The goals are admirable, but the budget plan offered little detail on how to achieve those goals.

Governor Quinn said his plan would cut spending and roll back expenditures to the Fiscal Year 2008 level, but the proposal would actually spend about $3.4 billion more than the 2008 budget and approximately $550 million more than the adopted budget for the current fiscal year. One glaring omission was a plan to pay down Illinois’ backlog of bills, which the Comptroller estimates to be around $8.5 billion." />

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