First of all, readers are advised not to panic!

Websites are awash with concerned readers. There is some heavy politiking going on at the state level in Springfield right now with the Governor making threats and noises about cutting state employees and facilities. It is just NOISE and Pat Quinn positioning himself. What will come out of all this postering is nothing in the short-term and October, and possibly little that is productive in the long-run.


Below are some of the scary articles coming out since Governor Pat Quinn started claiming that he is poised on the brink of announcing layoffs across several agencies and closing down several facilities in order to meet the budget:

Quinn plans layoffs, facility closings

Gov. Quinn says job ‘reductions’ needed

One fewer prison, more inmate crowding possible for Illinois

Pontiac and Vandalia prisons are both being tossed around as the correctional facilities most likely to be targeted for closure by Pat Quinn. Quinn may carry through on his threats by announcing layoffs and closure in the coming weeks, but as the above articles indicate and the below articles spell out; Quinn’s ability to carry out his threats is largely hollow because of the significant obstacles he would have to overcome, including a couple of them he created himself.

First of all, Quinn so far, has not gotten his way. The state legislature sent him a budget $2.2 billion short of what he wanted. Quinn was unable to sweet-talk the legislature into borrowing money to cover that short-fall during the last legislative session, and since May, Quinn has not found enough cuts to make in the budget they sent him to cover it. So, Quinn wants to force the legislature into approving a supplemental appropriation for the year during the fall veto session which begins October 25, 2011.

Quinn has the state already being challenged in court for renegment on an agreement he made with the public employees union, AFSCME, by not allowing pay raises as scheduled to state employees. Now, he will supposedly claim that the union has not kept the terms of another agreement with them not to layoff staff and close facilities as an basis to claim that he can can do so. He will be quickly challenged in court on the layoffs and proposed closures, and it is very unlikely that any court will rule in his favor. The legal process to implement any of these will be lengthy and is also complicated by the fact as discussed below, the legislature has made it more difficult now for IL governors to simply close any facility:

Quinn can’t just talk about closings

Quinn must justify facility closings under state law

Whether Quinn will succeed in getting more money from this legislature this fall is an open question. He is unlikely to succeed in closing anything and cutting staff. AFSCME is taking a common-sense, lets all cut through the BS posturing in it’s budget perspective:

…“Our state urgently needs leadership. Rather than disrupt vital services and add to Illinois’ already alarmingly high unemployment rate, the governor should work with the General Assembly to forestall service cuts and layoffs. The necessary funding is available if the legislature takes action when it returns for the veto session. The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability reports that revenue is coming in this year at higher than projected levels.

“We call on the governor and the legislative leaders to work together for the good of our state. This is not a time for partisanship or finger-pointing. It’s a time to work together to ensure that essential services to maintain public safety and meet human needs can continue to be provided. AFSCME stands ready to be part of that effort.”…

By using such an aggressive and antagonistic approach now to resolve the budget dilemna he has been grappling with all year, Pat Quinn, may be biting himself and fellow democrats in the rear-end. Pat Quinn appears to feel that the decisions he is making and carrying out are “morally” the “right thing to do”, but he is far from invulnerable in his position of moral superiority. Enough time has passed from his election win to reveal that Quinn lacks decisive leadership. Indeed, his procrastination on major issues and actions since then has squandered any voter momentum from the last election and leaves even republicans looking good.

Quinn’s actions make him a target for Republicans and AFSCME and other unions who should now realize that any agreements he makes with them are only politically expedient and will be broken by him when required. Voters, politicians, and interested parties should now be focusing their scutiny on Quinn for unnecessarily creating social and economic havoc on a grand scale. Quinn is poised to try to make public employees and social service agencies pawns to his political agenda as he has done for the past year and a half to prison inmates and their families.

As Quinn’s campaign unrolls, this is an opportunity for those concerned (and we urge our readers to do so) to contact the media, AFSCME, and Quinn’s Republican critics to calmly point out to them that Quinn is calling on others to make huge sacrifices in terms of jobs, funding, and closures, at a time when he is costing the state to incur millions of dollars in additional costs and prison over-crowding simply because he has failed to reinstate the awarding of Meritorious Good Time (MGT) credits for state inmates or otherwise resolve the problem and escalated costs of state prison over-crowding. The state of IL Department of Corrections has been patiently stacking, racking, and packing in mostly low-level offenders without respite since December 2009, when Quinn suspended further awarding of MGT. It needs to be pointed out to them that not only has Quinn procrastinated over this time, but that he has been allowed to be silent and not provide any public explanation as to how much longer these additional costs to taxpayers of at least $17,000 per year per inmate will continue before he acts and to explain what his solution will be.

Real pain and suffering are being endured currently by those within the corrections system. The state prison over-crowding issue has become so bad that even some Republicans are beginning to sound the alarm, as in the article below. Even they are advocating that the state urgently needs to see some form of inmate “early release”program happen as soon as possible:

Lawmakers see ‘train wreck’ with prison overcrowding, understaffing

IL inmates have gone through a summer of humanly intolerable temperatures outside and within prison facilities which are out-dated and which not only lack air-conditioning, but which are built to aggravate temperatures within facilities. Inmates have been housed in gyms and in basements, corridors, and any place a cot can be put. The conditions reported below are not new. Vandalia prison had the same conditions reported last summer with water in basements and mold. It has just taken the John Howard Association a year to get there to tour the facility and to issue this report. Vandalia is not alone with these problems and so far IDOC is just trying to keep the lid on an explosive situation.

Group outlines harsh conditions at Ill. prison

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