Illinois is on track according to Gov. Quinn

By WEEK Producer

February 1, 2012 Updated Feb 1, 2012 at 9:08 PM CDT

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Governor Pat Quinn painted a rosier picture than some legislators would have liked during his annual state of the state speech Wednesday.

Quinn says the state is moving forward but adds the economic storm is far from over.

Governor Quinn wants to provide three tax cuts to help rebuild and grow the state's economy. It's part of Quinn's Illinois Jobs Agenda which he outlined during his State of the State address in Springfield Wednesday.

"I purpose that we permanently abolish the natural gas utility tax in Illinois. It's unfair. it's regressive. It's not based on the ability to pay. We need to establish a child tax credit for Illinois parents raising children. We must adopt a tax credit that helps our veterans find employment," said Quinn.

Quinn talked about progress the state has made since he took over as governor three years ago. He says Illinois' exports have jumped by 30-percent this year.

Quinn touted success of companies like Caterpillar and John Deere which both saw increases in sales and revenues last year. He also pointed to initiatives like the development of high speed rail in the state and a capital construction bill that produced hundreds of jobs as well as improvements to roads, bridges and highways.

Legislators had mixed reaction to the governor's speech.

"Several times during his speech he said Illinois is back on track. That does not coincide with what lots of outside groups have said," added Republican Senator Darrin Lahood.

"You know I think we have two Illinois' and we have to recognize that. We have an Illinois that is strapped and scrambling for resources and in a real financial crisis," said 46th District Senator Dave Koehler. "We know that but we also have some things that are working in our economy. We need to uplift those."

"We can't even pay our bills and the governor is talking about spending money on new initiatives. We don't have the money," said 106th. District State Representative Keith Sommer.

"I think it was kind of sad," said 73rd District State Representative Dave Leitch. "He was just whistling through the graveyard."

Quinn says the work is far from over adding that reforms in medicaid and pension need to take place this legislative session.

Later this month, the Governor will give his annual budget address. Some legislators are skittish about spending money on new initiatives but want to hear more about Quinn's plans for dealing with the state's fiscal crisis.

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