Tri States Public Radio Staff
Thu October 29, 2009
Budget Woes For The Tri States
IL, IA & MO – Illinois, Iowa and Missouri are each dealing with major cash flow problems. Each state's governor this week announced plans for the dealing with the problems.
Governor Pat Quinn is recommending the state borrow around $900 million.
Quinn says the loan would make sure the state could pay its bills through February. He predicts banks will offer an interest rate of 1% or lower.
"Illinois' appeal to the banks that want to lend money is pretty good and we want to keep it that way," says Quinn.
The treasurer and comptroller still need to give their approval, which could be tricky. Comptroller Dan Hynes is running against Quinn in the Democratic primary for governor.
Hynes spokeswoman Carol Knowles says the comptroller will wait to comment until Quinn outlines a detailed plan.
But she adds that Illinois has already borrowed $2.25 billion since May, all of which was spent long ago.
Those loans and this new one would have to be paid back in full next spring.
Governor Chet Culver is ordering seven days of unpaid furloughs for thousands of state workers and asking union leaders to reopen contracts or face more layoffs.
Culver ordered the furloughs for 3,258 workers not covered by the union contracts.
Culver added he's found ways to restore about $16 million to agencies dealing with children and vulnerable adults. He says he hasn't reached a final decision on cuts to the Public Safety and Corrections departments, where layoffs of hundreds of workers is possible.
He says reductions to union contracts could save enough money to avoid laying off prison guards and state patrol troopers.
A union spokesman expressed a willingness to talk but would not make any commitments.
Governor Jay Nixon is cutting an additional $200 million from Missouri's budget and eliminating nearly 700 state employee jobs.
Nixon said the cuts are necessary because of a continued decline in state tax revenues.
The cuts come on top of $430 million that Nixon eliminated earlier this year. That's out of $23.7 billion budgeted by lawmakers for state operations and capital improvements during the current fiscal year.
The latest round includes the second-semester elimination of state aid for Missouri's online school program.
Arts and humanities also will lose half their year's funding.
Some health care providers will see reductions in their Medicaid payment rates, and the state will stop taking new non-Medicaid clients for certain mental health services.
Thanks to Illinois Public Radio and The Associated Press