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Illinois Governor Quinn Cuts Budget, Sells State’s Planes

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn made $250 million in budget cuts and put nine airplanes up for sale as the lowest-rated state in the country struggles to improve its finances.

Quinn used his veto power to remove the money set aside for capitol building renovations from the budget for the fiscal year that starts tomorrow. Nearly half of the state’s aircraft, including seven airplanes from the department of transportation and two from the state police, will be put on the market to save money, the governor’s office said in a statement today.

The Illinois General Assembly approved a $35.7 billion budget on May 31, a plan that lawmakers say won’t cover next year’s operations. While Quinn, a Democrat running for re-election in November, wanted lawmakers to extend a 2011 income-tax increase, the votes weren’t there for the levy or to cut spending to make up for the lost revenue. That worsened the fiscal troubles for Illinois, already faced with worst-funded state pension system.

“Reducing the budget and identifying additional efficiencies will help minimize the impact of cuts in vital services and maintain our hard-won fiscal gains,” Quinn said in an e-mailed statement. “While there’s more work to do, we must ensure the state lives within its means.”

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