Illinois Budget 5.22.09

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Here are the top Illinois stories coming today from GateHouse News Service. Stories are available at Please check in the evening for changes to story lineup, including breaking news.

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Casey Laughman: (217) 816-3343,


Job opening: AME of news sought for Suburban Life Publications.


Quinn says he won’t approve capital plan until budget, ethics reform finished

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Pat Quinn said Friday he will hold off approving a major capital construction program until state lawmakers also finish their other business, including a balanced budget and major ethics reform. By Eric Naing and Andrew Thomason of the State Capitol Bureau. Early version posted; will be updated.



Statehouse Insider. By Doug Finke of the State Capitol Bureau. Will be posted this evening for use Sunday.


State Briefs. News from around the state. Will be posted by 6:30 p.m.

GOVERNMENT REFORM: The Senate delays expected action on sweeping reforms put forward by the Illinois Reform Commission, raising suspicions that lawmakers might not make major changes to clean up government's sullied image. By Adriana Colindres of the State Capitol Bureau. Will be posted this evening.

STATE FIRINGS: The Senate could vote this afternoon on a measure that would fire more than 700 state workers and appointees, sending it to Gov. Pat Quinn's desk. By Doug Finke of the State Capitol Bureau. TENTATIVE based on afternoon vote.


Lincoln mania hits Home as tourists flock to site

SPRINGFIELD – The Lincoln Home is playing to packed crowds this spring. But that is pretty much business as usual for the narrow hallways and stairwells of a 19th-century home that can accommodate tours of only 15 to 17 at a time. It is the volume of tours — attendance of 127,501 January through April is up nearly 42 percent from last year — that is behind a decision to offer evening tour hours for the first time this summer, starting this Memorial Day weekend. By Tim Landis of the State Journal-Register.

Springfield airport seeks third daily service

SPRINGFIELD – Even as the first chartered flight of Direct Air left Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport for Myrtle Beach, S.C., on Thursday evening, local airport officials were continuing the hunt for a third daily scheduled service. The airport was awarded a $750,000 grant in September through a federal Small Community Air Service Development program intended to encourage commuter service at regional airports such as Springfield’s. By Tim Landis of the State Journal-Register.

Fuel prices surge for the summer

PEORIA – If the gas price plunge late last year from historic highs over $4 per gallon to levels not seen in five years - less than $2 - came as a pleasant surprise, it appears the reality of ever escalating fuel costs is back again. And, perhaps as no surprise, that reality check became glaringly apparent just days before the Memorial Day holiday, the kickoff of the summer driving season and traditional time for fuel retailers to switch to a more expensive summer gasoline blend. By Matt Buedel of the Peoria Journal Star. To localize: Are gas prices going up in your area?

Flooding proves costly for Fondulac Park District

EAST PEORIA – For the third time in less than a year, the Illinois River has flooded property belonging to Fondulac Park District. Spindler Marina is boatless. The parks are empty. Campers have been forced to find drier ground. Since the beginning of the year, the park district has lost about $40,000 in marina and campground revenue when compared with the same time in 2008. By Leslie Fark of the Peoria Journal Star.


Peoria program uses variety of methods to help kids compensate for dyslexia

PEORIA – Seth Mayfield is a ninth grader reading at an eighth grade level at Dunlap High School. That may not seem too significant, except that when he started seventh grade, he was reading at a second grade level. His success came from a free after-school tutoring program twice a week for 50 minutes in the basement of the Westlake Masonic Lodge. For parents of children with dyslexia, miracles happen in this basement. By Clare Howard of the Peoria Journal Star.

‘Little Women’ kicks off Theatre in the Park season

SPRINGFIELD – It’s Monday night at Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site, and there’s a buzz in the air. Some of it is the buffalo gnats, which are ravenous, but mostly it’s the odd blend of excitement and nerves that comes from the knowledge that there are just a few days of rehearsal until opening night. Theatre in the Park’s 2009 season begins Friday with “Little Women.” By Brian Mackey of the State Journal-Register.


BRITT: Toon on a possible downside to energy independence.

BONUS BRITT: On the Legislature trimming down the FOIA bill.

Wood on Words: What does ‘meme’ mean, and lesser subjects

Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer recently referred to “a common meme among my critics.” So what’s a “meme”?

Editorial: AG Madigan’s version of FOIA rewrite needs to be OK’d

Illinois needs a Freedom of Information Act with teeth, such as the one Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office has worked on for months. It doesn’t need the gutted, watered-down version that mysteriously appeared late Tuesday night — one that bears little resemblance to Madigan’s proposal. An editorial from the Rockford Register Star.

Editorial: Video poker plan a loser all around

When he proposed his budget, Gov. Pat Quinn said this about the possibility of expanded gambling: “Do we really want to solve our budgetary problems by expanding gambling everywhere the eye can see?” Just a few weeks ago, House Speaker Michael Madigan said he wasn’t interested in expanding gambling during this session. What a difference a few months make. An editorial from the State Journal-Register.

Editorial: Tame the 'Wild West' of Illinois campaign cash

In last year's campaign for the right to represent the Peoria area's 92nd District in the Illinois House, the two candidates on the general election ballot spent $1.5 million between them, roughly $43 per vote. That kind of spending and the fact there are no limits on contributions - particularly from non-locals trying to influence local races in ways that don't necessarily serve local interests - are behind the efforts to reform the way candidates can raise campaign funds. An editorial from the Peoria Journal Star.


Jeff Lampe: Additional revenue a must for DNR

The budget chess game continues.  Gov. Pat Quinn made the latest move by outlining a “Doomsday scenario” should the General Assembly not endorse tax and fee increases in his proposed budget. Drastic repercussions mentioned include closing 60 state parks and laying off one-third of the staff at parks run by the Department of Natural Resources. Without additional sources of revenue for DNR, additional cuts are likely. That’s the unhappy message DNR Director Marc Miller delivered this week to a gathering of outdoor writers at Rend Lake Resort.

SUNDAY QUICK SHOTS: By Matt Trowbridge of the Rockford Register Star. Will be posted by 7 p.m. for use Sunday.


John Supinie is on vacation.