Monday, January 10, 2011

Quinn pledges fiscal solution but avoids tax talk

By Lauren Johnson

After he was sworn into office today, Gov. Pat Quinn vowed that the state will solve its budget crisis soon but avoided discussion of a proposed income tax increase.

During inauguration ceremonies at Prairie Capital Convention Center in Springfield, he said he looks forward to serving Illinois along with the other five statewide officers who also officially assumed office: Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon; Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka; Treasurer Dan Rutherford and returning constitutional officers Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Secretary of State Jesse White.

“We have replaced a government of deals with a government of ideals,” Quinn said. He became governor in 2009 after the impeachment of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich and was elected to his own four-year term last November.

Topinka called on both parties to work together to help solve the state’s budget woes.
“Some of this is not going to be easy because the problems are huge. … We’re going to need to disagree sometimes without being disagreeable.”

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, who attended the ceremonies, agreed. “Anything that’s done in Washington or Springfield will need more cooperation," he said. “It’s easy to play to draw, it’s easy to have a good press release, it’s easy to put off a tough decision, but we've got move beyond that.” To solve the large problems facing Illinois, lawmakers from both parties would have to work together, he added.

During his speech, Quinn identified jobs and education as top priorities. Jobs, he said, are the “best way to fight poverty, crime and to keep families together,” and “education is the strongest force in our land for equal opportunity.”

He added, “Our job is to make sure that we take care of our babies in every way we can, to make sure they have a decent future."

Quinn said Illinois “will pay our bills, we will stabilize our budget, we will strengthen our economy.” He said state spending obligations, such as contributions to employee pension systems, must be met to have a sound, balanced budget.


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