SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration wants lawmakers to approve $221 million in extra funds to spend this fiscal year, a request that follows the $35 billion budget approved by the Legislature in May.
A draft of the request includes $112 million to pay back wages owed to 25,000 state workers, the Springfield Bureau of Lee Enterprises reported.
The effort by the administration to secure additional funds for the workers showcases continued tension between the Quinn and the Legislature over the issue. The state’s largest employee union sued after the General Assembly in 2011 refused to appropriate money for the raises promised to workers in five state agencies under the state’s old labor contract. Quinn had said there was no money for the raises.
A Cook County Circuit Court judge ruled last December Illinois had to pay the raises, plus interest.
Quinn had previously agreed to restore the wages, but the Legislature failed to act on a supplemental spending request last Spring.
Quinn’s assistant budget director, Abdon Pallasch, said the administration will continue to push to get the mo sney for the raises approved.
“The court has ordered us to pay this bill,” Pallasch told the Associated Press. “Not paying it does not make it go away.”
Also in the request is another $40.5 million for the Illinois Department of Corrections, part of which would cover converting state prisons to a two-meal a day “brunch and dinner” system, The AP reported last week.
State police and the Department of Human services are asking for a total of $34 million to help implement the state’s new concealed carry law.
The state police also requested $1.8 million to train a new class of cadets, and the state’s Emergency Management Agency wants $6 million to help cover April flooding.
Pallasch said the Department of Transportation is also requesting $3 million for a program helping minority businesses enterprises.
The spending requests are still in negotiations and numbers could change, Pallasch said.
Lawmakers heard some spending requests during the fall session that began last week but have yet to vote on them. They’re expected to talk more about it when they reconvene Nov. 5.