Democratic Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is under fire from union workers across the state because they say his proposed budget cuts would close or consolidate several state facilities, leading to what they claim would be massive layoffs.
According to the Chicago Tribune
, thousands of union-affiliated state employees gathered at the governor’s mansion in Springfield and numerous other locations Thursday to protest the sweeping cuts proposed to deal with the state’s huge budget deficits.
Shouting and holding signs that read “No Quinn Cuts” and “Defend Human Services,” the workers tied to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees questioned the governor’s spending priorities as well as tax breaks to Chicago’s financial exchanges.
Some of the state workers who helped with the clean up after a deadly tornado earlier this month in the southern part of the state stressed the importance of maintaining basic services.
Edward Schwartz, a child-protection worker for the Department of Children and Family Services, told the Tribune that Quinn’s budget proposal would severely hamper the family agency’s ability to do its job.
“We’re already short-staffed,” said Schwartz. “I am one of those people on the front line. And if we don’t have the staffing and resources that we need, it’s only a matter of time.”
A spokeswoman for Quinn’s budget office told the Tribune the cuts are necessary, primarily because of growing Medicaid and pension costs that are “unsustainable.”
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