Senate President John J. Cullerton released the following statement regarding Governor Pat Quinn’s FY14 Budget Address:

“Today Governor Quinn introduced a plan that appears balanced and holds the line on spending. I appreciate that his plan also reflects our true liabilities in entitlements and pensions. This year another $1 billion pension payment diverts our attention from every other budget priority. The inescapable truth is the enormity of our pension costs continues to crowd out essential services. Nowhere is that more evident than in education. Because of rising pension costs I understand why the Governor’s budget includes these painful cuts. However, we should all consider this an unacceptable option and work to fully restore education funding.

This reality reinforces why pension reform remains my top priority this session. For that reason I have notified all pension reform senate sponsors to present their bills before the senate executive committee within a week. I am also working to identify new revenue sources for education and priority programs. I believe that a gaming plan that is structured to address the ethical and regulatory concerns of Governor Quinn can be part of a new revenue mix. I look forward to working with the caucuses to advance more solutions to our funding shortfall. The Governor’s budget address marks just the beginning of the budget making process. The Senate and the House have also begun the appropriation process by agreeing to adopt the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability’s revenue projections for the upcoming fiscal year. We look forward to working with the Governor to reconcile the differences between his $35.6 billion plan and our $35.1 billion spending cap.

I’m confident that if we work together we can improve the fiscal outlook for the state.”