The legislative session kicks off today with the Governor’s “State of the State” Address
at noon. I hope the Governor will issue his long awaited Executive Order on
Employment First! We shall see. The Governor’s Budget Address is scheduled for
February 19th. Story on the Address today from the Chicago Tribune.


Economic focus for Quinn
State address likely to include governor’s
re-election themes

By Monique Garcia Tribune reporter

SPRINGFIELD — Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to deliver a State of the
State speech Wednesday that will echo many of the themes already at the
cornerstone of his re-election campaign, highlighting controversial changes to the
state’s public employee pension system and a renewed effort to increase the minimum

The annual address comes five years to the day after Quinn’s ascension to the state’s
top post when lawmakers voted to remove from office Gov. Rod Blagojevich. The
anniversary of one of state government’s darkest days affords Quinn a chance to talk
about how he believes he’s improved Illinois since then, including approval of a major
public works program, legalization of gay marriage and efforts to slowly whittle down
billions of dollars in debt.

The governor has indicated that “building the middle class” will be a theme. If that sounds
familiar, it should — President Barack Obama hit a similar note during the State of the
Union speech Tuesday night. Talk of helping the middle class at a time of growing wage
disparity has emerged as a Democratic template for the midterm elections.

Quinn will tout his success at pushing through money-saving changes to the state’s
pension system, although a group of major unions sued Tuesday to try to overturn the
law, which they characterized as unconstitutional “theft” from workers.   The Quinn
administration laid the groundwork for the public self-congratulations over the weekend
when the governor’s budget chief sent lawmakers a letter noting he expects the state’s
backlog of unpaid bills to be $5.6 billion at the end of the budget year in June — down
from a high of $9.9 billion in November 2010.

Absent from the note, however, was any mention of the major income tax increase Quinn
pushed through to help ease the budget pressure and whether it should be allowed to
expire as scheduled beginning in 2015. Without the extra revenue, Quinn’s office estimates
the state would face a $1.9 billion budget hole in 2015 and a $4.1 billion deficit in 2016.

Quinn has refused to say if he supports extending the tax hike or putting in place some
other money-raising measures, and he’s expected to avoid the topic until he delivers his
budget address Feb. 19. Instead, the governor will use Wednesday’s speech to unveil a
number of voter-friendly initiatives, including several aimed at job creation and helping
small businesses.

The governor will propose slashing the fee for filing as a limited liability company from
$500 to $39, according to an aide familiar with the governor’s plans.   The state’s fee is
among the highest in the nation, and the idea is to let business owners spend the money
on getting off the ground instead of paying for bureaucracy.

Quinn also will issue an executive order to create a new position in his office that will focus
on ways to improve the climate for small businesses in Illinois, including ways to streamline
regulations, aides said.

The proposals may be aimed at blunting some of the blowback Quinn has experienced from
business interests over his push to raise the state’s minimum wage from $8.25 an hour to
$10. He unveiled the idea during last year’s State of the State, but it gained little traction.
The governor may be hoping for an election-year boost this time around as Obama has
pushed a federal increase.

Quinn has been criticized by the four Republican candidates for governor who contend he
hasn’t done enough to create jobs and help Illinois rebound economically after the national
recession. Three of the candidates   — state Treasurer Dan Rutherford of Chenoa, Sen. Kirk
Dillard of Hinsdale and Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington — will be in the House chamber for
Quinn’s noon address. It’s unclear whether venture capitalist Bruce Rauner of Winnetka will
be at the Capitol.

“Hopefully we’ll hear a good, true picture of the state because that kind of gives us a road
map of where we need to go,” said Senate Republican leader Christine Radogno of Lemont.
“I hope we don’t hear a purely political speech, but I think there is a good chance that we will
hear a lot of that.”

Tony Paulauski
Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423
815-464-1832 (OFFICE)
815-464-1832 (CELL)