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Illinois Gov. Says More Budget Cuts

November 29, 2001

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) _ Gov. George Ryan announced an additional $136 million in budget cuts Wednesday to programs for the poor, while key lawmakers said the state’s budget deficit is much larger than the $500 million cited by Ryan.

On Tuesday, Ryan slashed $220 million from the $53.4 billion budget, cutting social service agencies’ operations, closing a state prison and proposing a one-day furlough for 60,000 state workers.

Hospitals that serve the poor will be hit the hardest by the latest cuts. Ryan is trimming $120 million from Medicaid, particularly programs that support outpatient care and pay for expensive treatments.

Ryan also said he plans to cut $16 million by canceling a 0.5 percent cost-of-living increase for private agencies that provide social services.

The two rounds of cuts, combined with a promised $25 million in education cuts, still would leave Ryan nearly $120 million short of his $500 million goal.

Ryan said the cuts would take effect shortly, but negotiations with lawmakers could produce some changes to the plan.

Key lawmakers say the budget gap is really $760 million and Ryan is borrowing from the end-of-year balance to cover $260 million of it, making next year’s budget even harder to balance. The Ryan administration denied that.

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