It’s not surprising that Gov. Pat Quinn’s forces were feeling a bit curmudgeonly Wednesday after the Illinois Senate voted to restore $56 million Quinn wanted to cut from the state budget.
Quinn has long heard the Republican refrain, “We don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem.” But when they had a chance to close prisons and other state facilities, 15 of the 23 GOP senators voted the other way and one didn’t vote. Quinn’s people would tell you that’s because they wanted to protect state spending in their districts.
The final Senate voted was 35-16 to override Quinn’s effort to make the cuts. Quinn argues the Downstate Tamms prison and some juvenile detention centers are underused.
Because Quinn wanted to divert the money to child-protection program funding, not save it, the GOP senators could argue his plan wasn’t going to be a net savings for the state.
The measure next goes to the Illinois House for a vote. Even if the House votes to override, too, Quinn won’t have to spend the money. But he won’t be able to use it elsewhere.
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