Tradition of State of the State

Jan 31, 2014

Something notable was missing from Governor Pat Quinn’s State of the State address this week: talk about Illinois’ finances.  Presumably that’ll come when he gives his budget address next month.  This got me wondering: why not have just one speech?


Like Quinn, Senator John Sullivan of Rushville is a Democrat.  Still, he says the State of the State speech was lacking detail, and it left him wondering what will happen to the state's budget.

"I would have to kinda wonder, maybe it's not as useful as it used to be.  Or perhaps we need to combine the state of the state and the budget address," Sullivan said.

That has been done before – like when Quinn first became governor five years ago.

The Illinois constitution mandates the governor update the General Assembly at the start of session each year.   It also mandates the governor submit an annual budget to legislators.

John Alexander was a delegate to the 1970 Illinois constitutional convention. He prefers keeping the speeches separate. Alexander says the State of the State is a long standing Illinois tradition, like the British prime minister appearing before Parliament.

"I like the idea of the governor presenting himself before the General Assembly at least once or twice a year," Alexander said.

Quinn's budget address is scheduled for Feb. 19.