Gov. Pat Quinn delivered plenty of bad news during his noon budget address, from pension and health care cuts to the closures of dozens of state facilities, and said "confronting hard truths is what public service is all about."
After Governor Pat Quinn finished up his 2013 Budget Address, politicians and advocacy groups from across the state began releasing statements in reaction to the governor's prescriptions.
Here are those statements.
Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Mayor:
I applaud the Governor's decision to be honest with the taxpayers about the state's pension obligations. The hardworking families who rely on public pensions deserve honest answers, as do the taxpayers who have to honor those pension obligations. The time has come to deal with the state's pension obligations and I commend the Governor for being forthright today. In addition, I strongly support the Governor’s commitment to maintain funding for education so that our children have the resources they need to learn, thrive, and succeed in the future.
Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Board President:
“Today the Governor took great steps to lay out the budgetary problems that Illinois is facing in an honest and forthright manner. He laid out a strong framework for pension reform that I hope will prove a successful roadmap for the General Assembly.
“While the Governor’s candor struck the right tone, absent from his address were clear recommendations on Medicaid and human services funding. Protecting our public health institutions and the Cook County residents who rely on them for care is among my most urgent priorities as President of the Cook County Board. Cook County and the Cook County Health and Hospitals System, as the result of various financial agreements, provide hundreds of millions of dollars to the State of Illinois every year for human services funding for residents throughout the state of Illinois. It is currently unclear if that is accurately recognized in the Governor's proposed budget.
“The state of Illinois remains under enormous financial pressure, as do Governments at every level. I am confident that the Members of the Illinois General Assembly will fashion a responsible budget that will strengthen our state's future.”
Dan Rutherford, Illinois Treasurer
“Let me be clear: I commend Governor Quinn’s proposal to fully fund next year’s pension obligation. I heard a commitment from the governor today to make meaningful, fair reforms to both the public pension system and Medicaid. If these reforms are accomplished, it will be a very productive session for the Illinois General Assembly. I stand ready to work with the governor. We must act now.”
Bill Brady, State Senator (Quinn's 2010 opponent for Governor)
“We can no longer bury our heads in the sand, hoping that things will get better, and Governor Quinn today at least peeked out of that hole,” Brady said. “It amazes me it's taken him this long to reach the conclusion and the reality of the condition we're in. But his budget proposal today still calls for higher spending and does nothing to give Illinois families and businesses any confidence that last year’s tax increase will expire as scheduled.”
“It appears that the Governor may be taking the first step toward curbing the Democrats’ addiction to a long-held policy of taxing, spending and borrowing,” Brady said. “It’s early, and he now must show steady discipline in following through to actually reduce spending as he has proposed, push the reforms he has suggested along with others we in the legislature will propose, and make sure the reforms are implemented.”
Michael Madigan, Speaker of the House (from an AP article)
House Speaker Michael Madigan is applauding Gov. Pat Quinn for laying out the state's financial crisis in stark terms.
The Chicago Democrat said Wednesday that Quinn's budget address delivered a very clear message about the need to address problems with Medicaid and pensions. Madigan says it was legitimate for Quinn to tell lawmakers not to go home until the problems are solved.
In an interview with public television, Madigan emphasized that passing a budget under such tough conditions will require a bipartisan approach.
Madigan says House Republican leader Tom Cross has agreed to cooperate with Democrats again this year.
Mary Jane A. Wurth, Illinois Hospital Assocation President & CEO
The Illinois Hospital Association (IHA) is disappointed by the Governor’s proposal to cut $2.7 billion from Illinois’ Medicaid program. This proposed cut, which is equal to 18 percent of total spending on Medicaid, will harm all Illinois residents.
We are deeply concerned that if state leaders make rash decisions – like imposing drastic cuts or quickly moving large numbers of people into HMOs – it could have far-reaching consequences that hurt patients, communities and the health care system. The people of Illinois deserve a thoughtful, informed plan for a multi-year approach that protects patients and preserves health care jobs that the state desperately needs to hold onto.
Today, nearly one in three hospitals in every area of the state is losing money. If cuts are made to Medicaid, many hospitals will be forced to reduce or eliminate key services or lay off staff, and some hospitals may close. When health care services are eliminated due to Medicaid cuts, those services are gone for everyone, not just Medicaid patients. Patients will be forced to travel further for care, and health care deserts will develop in the neediest areas of Illinois.
IHA and the hospital community have solutions for redesigning Medicaid. They include:
• Enhancing the Hospital Assessment Program that would provide an additional $40 million for the Medicaid Program.
• Enhancing the current Primary Care Case Management program that already has saved the Medicaid program more than $400 million over the past four years.
• Supporting provider-led models of care coordination to improve care, reduce readmissions and unnecessary utilization of services, and lower costs.
IHA looks forward to working with the Governor and General Assembly to transform Medicaid and the state’s health care delivery system so all Illinoisans have access to the quality health care they need and deserve.
Bill Ramey, State Representative
“It was appalling to hear the Governor suggest more spending when our state’s budget has been on a downward spiral for years. He covered his tracks by saying his proposals will roll back spending to 2008 levels, yet the numbers show he’s actually proposing $3.5 billion more than the 2008 numbers. We need to stop spending at every chance we can. There should be absolutely no increases in spending whatsoever if we plan on getting the state’s financial crisis under control.”
Dr. Ram Raju, Cook County Health & Hospitals System CEO
"Governor Quinn spelled out the budgetary problems that the great state of Illinois has in hand. However, as the third largest public healthcare organization in the country, the Cook County Health and Hospitals System is concerned about the Medicaid cuts.
We understand Medicaid is a huge cost, however, we are the safety net for the health and well-being of the people of Cook County and I am sure the Illinois General Assembly will craft a budget that will not compromise the healthcare of residents.