Quinn hits back at Brady on federal aid to states

Monday, August 16, 2010

Gov. Pat Quinn Friday criticized his Republican opponent for saying it was wrong for Congress to approve more education and Medicaid money for states, including Illinois.

Illinois expects to get about $500 million more for Medicaid programs and about $415 million more for education after Congress’ action this week.

Bill Brady, the GOP governor candidate, on Thursday called the aid “just typical Washington games, digging a deeper hole.” He said the $26 billion in funding will add to the nation’s deficit and Illinois will be faced with trying to cover for the funds next year after they are used.

“He wants to turn away federal money to keep our teachers working? He’s just plain wrong,” Quinn said after cutting the ribbon to open the 2010 Illinois State Fair.

“I think this is Exhibit A on why Sen. Brady is one of the worst people for education in Illinois,” Quinn said.

Quinn said the additional federal aid was the result of both Republican and Democratic governors pushing Congress for help in the wake of declining state revenues because of the recession.

“If Sen. Brady, perish the thought, was governor of Illinois, his voice wouldn’t be heard. The fifth-largest state. He’s dropping the ball on that issue. He’s letting the parents and school children down.”

Without either federal or state assistance, Quinn said, property taxes will “skyrocket” to make up the difference.

“I want to reduce property taxes. Sen. Brady wants to see them go through the roof,” Quinn said.

In a statement, the Brady campaign dismissed Quinn’s comments.

“It is stunning coming from a candidate who is pushing a massive income tax increase on businesses and families,” said campaign spokeswoman Patty Schuh. “Pat Quinn has lost touch with the concerns of families across Illinois. They believe government must live within its means, we must hold the line on taxes and rebuild our jobs climate.”

Quinn did nothing to clarify the furlough issue facing 2,700 non-union state workers. Before the federal aid increase, Quinn had said those workers have to take 24 unpaid days off this year.

“There are still a lot of things we have to do to get through this fiscal year,” Quinn said. “We’re going to keep everything under review. We’re not going to make any decisions on that right now.”

Quinn also said the state will announce shortly how the education money will be spent. The state Board of Education has said the funds will be distributed through the general state aid formula that supplies the bulk of state assistance to school districts.