UPDATE: Quinn Budget: "You Can Handle the Truth
Not even a small fire late Tuesday night in the governor's office could postpone his "ugly budget" address at noon.
Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to call for big cuts to prisons and state police telecommunications during the speech as well as fewer adult detention centers and more electronic monitoring. Chicago could see the consolidation of Department of Children and Family Services offices as well.
Two prisons and 12 state facilities also are expected to be closed and Medicaid slashed by $2.7 billion. It's all part of an effort to get state debt under control.
A report last month estimated Illinois' debt could soar to $34.8 billion in the next five years unless something is done about the state's enormous backlog of unpaid bills.
The report says an "unsustainable rise in state Medicaid" costs is largely responsible. And current trends suggest conditions will worsen, leaving a $21 billion backlog of unpaid Medicaid bills by the end of 2017.
"It's an uncomfortable conversation with labor unions," House Minority Leader Tom Cross said Wednesday. But he said it must be done.
"The warning sirens are sounding," said Republican State Treasurer Dan Rutherford on reforming public pensions.
During Quinn's State of the State address this month he steered clear of debt issues, reflecting instead on the year, pushing for lawmakers to invest in education and, a familiar theme, creating jobs.