State Of The State: Many Promises, No Funding Plan

Jan 29, 2014

Gov. Pat Quinn
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

  A hike in the minimum wage, sending more children to preschool and more grants for low-income college students are all part of the agenda Governor Pat Quinn laid out Wednesday in his State of the State address. But critics are already calling it fantasy.

Five years to the day after he first became governor, Pat Quinn tried to make the case that Illinois is "making a comeback."

"We've lead Illinois' comeback one hard step at a time," he said. "We've worked to repair decades of damage. And we're getting the job done. Let's keep the shoulder to the wheel and get that job done."

Quinn's vision for that includes raising Illinois' minimum wage to at least $10 an hour, and requiring businesses give workers at least a couple of sick days.

He also wants to expand prenatal care, and provide every child with access to preschool.

And he says Illinois should double the number of so-called "MAP" grants that help qualifing students pay for college.

But Quinn, who's running for re-election, made no mention of how Illinois would pay for his agenda, especially given that Illinois' income tax hike is set to expire halfway through the next budget year. Republicans, and even some of Quinn's fellow Democrats, say his plan ignores Illinois' harsh financial reality.