Quinn: State government cuts focus of budget plan

State Capitol Bureau

Faced with a historic budget hole a week before laying out his budget plan, Gov. Pat Quinn wouldn't talk Tuesday about tax increases, but said his focus is on making cuts in state government.

"We have to cut, cut and cut costs in the budget. That's really the number one focus. The first thing you do is look for every opportunity to economize and to save money to the taxpayers," Quinn said at a news conference in his Statehouse office.

Quinn said he wants to add jobs in Illinois and make sure health care and social service providers get paid billions of dollars they are owed by state government.

But state jobs and services could be in peril, Quinn acknowledged.

"Whatever needs to be done in the area of saving money for the taxpayers will be done," Quinn said.

The governor also said he'll propose a $25 billion construction program, but not funded by a gasoline tax increase. And he's looking to create a new pension system for new state hires to lower future costs.

Quinn will lay out his budget for next year next Wednesday, March 18, in an address to lawmakers.

State Capitol Bureau