Funding Cuts Could Put Public Safety in Jeopardy

WTVO/WQRF -- In a state that's billion's of dollars in debt, Illinois is about to lose one major source of revenue.

The men and women who help keep our highways safe could see their jobs in grave danger. That's if the General Assembly doesn't take action to make up what could be a 20 percent funding gap for agencies like the Illinois State Police. That means 450 troopers could be out of a job.

Those massive funding cuts won't just take state troopers off the streets, they could also close the Rockford State Police Crime Lab which is housed in the Zeke Giorgi Center downtown.

"If you close a forensic lab that would really hinder the ability of local law enforcement to prosecute criminal cases if they don't have the access to these labs," said Sen. Steve Stadelman (D-34th District).

The cuts would come from the expiration of the temporary income tax hikes at the end of the year, cutting your tax bill, but also billions in state tax revenue.

"If simply you're going to cut spending and not look at other options regarding revenue, these are the type of ramifications the state would provide, and it could affect public safety," Sen. Stadelman said.

Stadelman hasn't decided whether he would vote to extend the tax. But Representative Joe Sosnowski says an extension of the temporary tax increase is not the way to go because of it's impact on the state economy and jobs.

"If we had an unemployment rate similar to the states around us we'd have more taxes coming in to the state coffers just from people simply working but we haven't done those things to encourage business growth in Illinois," said Rep. Sosnowski (R-69th District).

That's why all eyes will be on Governor Quinn on Wednesday when he delivers his annual budget address, and how to close the impending funding gap.

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