Illinois' Pat Quinn Takes Helm Amid Budget Woes
MICHELE NORRIS, Host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.
ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:
From Springfield, Illinois, NPR's David Schaper has the story.
SIEGEL: Hey, guys. We're gonna talk tomorrow.
DAVID SCHAPER: As he waited for an elevator in the capitol around 1:30 this morning, a bleary-eyed Illinois Governor Pat Quinn was uncharacteristically quiet about the big income tax increase that had just barely won approval in the Illinois legislature.
SIEGEL: Well, we were happy that the Senate voted that way and the House did too. And we'll talk about it tomorrow morning.
SCHAPER: Quinn says these higher taxes may not be popular but are critical for the state's fiscal survival.
SIEGEL: We have an emergency, a fiscal emergency. Our state was careening towards bankruptcy and fiscal insolvency. Even in the last couple of months, the situation got seriously more dire.
NORRIS: First of all, he inherited a mess.
SCHAPER: Former Illinois Republican Governor Jim Edgar, now a fellow at the University of Illinois Institute for Government and Public Affairs.
NORRIS: It was basically based off of two governors before who I don't think were very fiscally responsible.
SCHAPER: Former Republican governor Edgar says Democrat Quinn is still growing into the job, but he has changed from his more populist outsider days.
NORRIS: Well, I like this Pat Quinn a lot better because now that he's in power, he's got to kind of be a little more responsible than when you're on the outside just throwing bombs all the time. I told him - I said, now you got to catch them, and that's a lot tougher to do.
SCHAPER: Other longtime Illinois political observers here in the state capitol rotunda say Quinn, now secure in a full term in office, can claim victory in the first big test of his leadership.
NORRIS: Well, I think it shows that finally things clicked.
SCHAPER: Bernie Schoenburg is a political writer and columnist for the Springfield State Journal-Register.
NORRIS: I have said from the time he got in, as he changes opinion, Pat Quinn, on this or that, that it has looked as if he's a little wishy-washy on some things and he didn't seem to have the levers of power. Somehow, it all came together.
SCHAPER: David Schaper, NPR News in Springfield, Illinois.
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