Fiscal cliff could cut $257M from federal aid to Illinois - KMSP-TV

Fiscal cliff could cut $257M from federal aid to Illinois

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

In Illinois, there is some dispute about the impact of mandatory federal spending cuts that would come if the D.C. deadlock continues, but in Illinois, Republicans and Democrats agree that some programs for the poor would be hit hard.

Much has been said about what's at stake for the richest taxpayers in the Washington debate, but it could have an even bigger impact on the poorest, as Gov. Quinn told a cable channel.

"Cutting off that aid, especially to poor children, would be a disaster," Quinn said on CNBC.

Unless a majority in Congress votes to block it, a so-called "sequestration" of federal funds would take effect. It could cut $257 million from federal aid to Illinois. One study found Federal money to be about 8.5% of Illinois's total budget, higher than the 6.6% average of all states.

Various education programs would be cut by more than $130 million; with other cuts hitting programs for the unemployed, for clean water and for drug-abuse treatment. State Treasurer Dan Rutherford, likely to announce by Spring as a Republican candidate for governor, told FOX 32 News by phone that spending MUST be cut, but in a more thoughtful manner than this.

"It's gonna affect services of government for those with desperate and deserved needs," Rutherford said. "This is the human side of what's taking place out of Washington, D.C."

The Republican State Treasurer said Illinois's already worst-in-the-nation state debt makes the state more vulnerable than most.

"So now they're going to add this on to an already wobbly fiscal condition that we have here in Illinois. We've been trying to dig out of a hole. They're going to put us right back in the hole and bring us to a recession," Judy Baar Topinka said.

Federal cuts would not hit all at once, be spread out over the next year, providing both sides in D.C. time to make smarter spending reductions.

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