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Illinois Citizens Have Two More Days to Add Their "Two Cents" to Budget

March 8, 2010

CHICAGO - Gov. Pat Quinn's people say that he'll be considering what Illinois citizens have posted on the web when he delivers his budget message on Wednesday. He recently posted his preliminary budget figures online and, for the first time ever, asked citizens to post their comments.

The Governor proposed $2 billion in cuts as a start on erasing the state's $13 billion deficit. One citizen post ranted, "STOP BEING CROOKED." A couple of comments suggested legalizing marijuana, while others suggested pay cuts for top government officials. And many respondents actually asked for a tax increase.

Sean Noble, director of government relations with Voices for Illinois Children, says he's not surprised.

"More people are starting to understand that the effects of deep, deep budget cuts actually would have a far more harmful affect on their household income than the prospects of paying a little bit more in income taxes."

The prospect of deeper cuts is frightening to families whose household costs are going up because the state can't pay its bills, Noble says

"University tuition is spiking; people are losing their early-childhood education programs."

Noble says he's hoping the governor and state lawmakers will come up with a balanced, common-sense approach.

"You certainly cannot cut your way out of a problem that is as big as $13 billion - that represents half of all the discretionary funding the state has."

Even the non-partisan Civic Federation recently called for tax increases, along with pension reform and spending cuts.

With budget woes causing so many problems for working families, it only makes sense to consider a balanced approach that doesn't rely solely on borrowing and cuts and includes new revenues, as well, Noble adds.

To read about the budget and submit comments, go to http://www2.illinois.gov/budget/Pages/default.aspx.


Mary Anne Meyers, Public News Service - IL