Kotowski, Democrats respond to Senate GOP budget cuts
By Mike Riopell
SPRINGFIELD – Sen. Dan Kotowski has issued a response to Senate Republicans’ budget-cutting proposals, questioning some of their ideas but saying he knows the state has to cut back.
“We take their suggestions very seriously,” the Park Ridge Democrat said.
Kotowski chairs one of the Senate’s budget committees and issued a letter to Senate GOP leaders this week. The letter takes to task some ideas in a Republican budget-cutting proposal released earlier this month.
“We’re taking a look at it,” Patty Schuh, spokeswoman for Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno, said of the letter.
The letter lauds some ideas, such as combining the state’s treasurer and comptroller offices, an idea the Senate approved Thursday.
But Kotowski and Sen. Heather Steans of Chicago also wrote that Republicans’ plans to save money on state employees’ retirement isn’t realistic in the next year.
Employee unions have vowed to meet attempts to reduce benefits for current employees with lawsuits, which could take years to settle in the courts.
“We feel the more conservative approach would be to not assign savings from a pension reform bill until the courts have ruled on the issue,” the letter says.
The letter comes as House Democratic leaders started moving their own budget plans earlier the week, saying much of Gov. Pat Quinn’s proposal will be ignored.
The full letter can be found at www.senatedem.ilga.gov. The Republican proposals can be seen at www.illinoisrealitycheck.com.