Quinn: Former First Couple is “Yesterday's Tomatoes”

Quinn pushes budget, reform agenda

Gov. Pat Quinn is out pushing his budget and reform agenda as the legislative session nears an end.

Quinn is in Chicago on Monday and is the keynote speaker at a downtown civic club gathering.

Quinn's speech to the City Club of Chicago comes with just two weeks left before the General Assembly is expected to wrap up its work in Springfield.

Quinn wants lawmakers to pass a budget that includes a 50 percent increase in the state income tax rate to help close a budget deficit of at least $11.6 billion.

Former Gov. James Thompson, who faced his own budget crisis in the recession of 1982, asked if Quinn would consider a compromise proposal that would hike the income tax temporarily and without exemptions.  In essence, Quinn said no.

Still, Thompson expressed relief that Quinn was at the helm now.

"Thank you for rescuing us," Thompson said to Quinn.

When asked about Patti Blagojevich going to Costa Rica to appear on a reality TV show, Quinn called the former first couple "yesterday's tomatoes."

The governor got specific in describing the fallout that would ensue if the budget is not approved: 14,300 teachers could lose their jobs, 400,000 students could lose assistance, 650,000 could lose health care, 271,000 seniors could lose service, half the state police force could be laid off, and 6,000 prisoners could be released early.

He also wants lawmakers to pass ethics reform measures in the wake of the scandals that ousted his predecessor, former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, from office.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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