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June 4, 2003

Blagojevich announces first vetoes for FY04 budget
Funding Cut for Corrections’ Captains, Pay Raises Cut for Judges, Constitutional Officers, Agency Directors, Legislators

CHICAGO –Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the first vetoes of the FY04 budget – totaling just under $22 million – including a reduction of $17.3 million from the Department of Corrections, $3.7 million that would have been used for pay raises for judges, and $791,000 that would have been used for pay raises for government officials, including constitutional officers, agency directors and legislators.

Blagojevich trimmed $17.3 million from the Illinois Department of Corrections appropriation that would have funded the continued employment of 219 captains, who were recently notified they would be laid off June 30 as part of a plan to streamline the agency’s top-heavy management structure.  Their average salary was $75,200 a year.


“The public expects us to do more with less.  I cannot ask them to cover the cost of middle management we just don’t need,” Blagojevich said.


The governor reaffirmed his proposal for cuts to the Department of Corrections bureaucracy so that the agency’s emphasis can be on staffing front-line security positions that are critical to the safety of its employees and the inmates incarcerated in the state’s prison system. 


Blagojevich has said captains, who primarily are shift supervisors in the prisons, will be allowed to bid on the 122 current open lieutenant jobs and for about 1,300 unfilled bargaining unit jobs in the department.  The captains’ current duties will be shifted to other higher managerial positions, such as assistant wardens or majors.


While heartened by the fact the legislature approved nearly all of his budget recommendations, Blagojevich said lawmakers did send him higher spending in some areas and he will use the next couple weeks to review the $52 billion budget plan to look for other savings opportunities.


“The race to balance the budget is not a sprint.  It’s a marathon.  Even when the economy rebounds, the goal shouldn’t be to just make sure the numbers all add up.  Our goal should be to make government as efficient and cost effective as possible.” Blagojevich said.


Blagojevich also said that, in a time of fiscal restraint and shared sacrifice, he could not approve pay raises for judges or government officials, including constitutional officers, agency directors and legislators. 


The General Assembly’s FY04 budget included a $3.7 million cost of living increase for Supreme Court, Appellate Court and Circuit Court judges.  The budget also included $791,000 for pay raises for the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, comptroller, treasurer, auditor general, agency directors, assistant agency directors, and the members of the legislature. 


“In these difficult times, when state agencies are being consolidated, when the number of state personnel is being reduced – in short – when others are being asked to sacrifice – this is not the time to give pay raises to the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, to the Constitutional Officers, to the men and women of the General Assembly, or to the Supreme Court, the Appellate Court or the Circuit Court judges,” Blagojevich said.


The revenue saved by the vetoes will be placed in the state’s rainy day fund.

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