Quinn predicts $400 million less for education in next budget
4 months ago
If that holds up, the governor would unveil a financial blueprint that would result in state education funding going down for the third consecutive year. The move also would be part of a broad-based, across-the-board slice made throughout most of state government. Among major exceptions would be health care spending for the poor, which is expected to rise after cuts last year, and public safety, an area projected to be mostly flat after the recent closure of two prisons, according to new preliminary figures.
"The explosive growth in the state pension payments means every other part of the budget has less money," said Abdon Pallasch, Quinn's budget spokesman. "The pain's going to get worse and worse every year before we fix this pension problem."
The money pressure is intensifying at a fast clip. The standard annual pension costs are expected to rise from about $5.2 billion this year to $6.2 billion in the new budget that begins July 1, but the overall cost is even higher. The total pension drain could hit almost $7.9 billion — about one-fourth of the state's operating budget. The higher figure includes $1.66 billion in repayments of loans taken out to cover annual pension costs in previous years.
"No question, that's a lot of money," said Rep. Will Davis, D-Homewood. "It is clear that we've got to figure out how to manage pensions in the state of Illinois."