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General assembly enters final stretch

Mon, 14 May 2012 05:12:13 CDT
By: IPR's Amanda Vinicky

Illinois' General Assembly is heading into the home stretch. They're scheduled to adjourn by the end of the month. But first, they need to pass a budget.    IPR's Amanda Vinicky reports:

The pressure in the capitol is palpable.
For months, groups of legislators have been meeting to try to find how they can cut two of the state's biggest expenses ... pensions and Medicaid.


"Well, why would you be concerned, we've got two and a half weeks left. We've got all the time in the world to fix our problems here in the state of Illinois."

That's Representative Joe Lyons, a Chicago Democrat.

"None of us ever learned different from high school. Cramming at the end, procrastinating 'til the night before when we started studying for our test the next day, so. It's a horrible way to run the railroad. I've been down here 16 years, rarely has it been any different."

Lyons says when push comes to shove, he predicts lawmakers will get it done by the end of the month.
He says they have a head start; in a key vote last week, both chambers approved taking away state government retirees' free health insurance.   But the outstanding pension and Medicaid issues are major.

"So many issues to deal with, so many big, big issues to deal with. God only knows what will happen in the next two weeks."

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