- Associated Press - Sunday, March 30, 2014

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Much of the focus of Gov. Pat Quinn’s election-year budget address was on his proposal to make Illinois’ temporary income tax permanent in order to avert cuts to education and other areas.

But buried in the 514-page blueprint released by the governor’s office Wednesday are several other less-publicized proposals revealing his priorities in the year ahead. Quinn proposes to wipe out funding for an anti-violence program, reopen two shuttered corrections facilities, and boost funding to his own office, among other plans.

“The devil is in the details,” state Rep. Bob Pritchard, the House minority spokesman on education, said following the speech. The Republican from Hinckley said he “liked the governor’s priorities” but objected to keeping the state’s temporary income tax increase in place to pay for the $36.8 billion spending plan, which makes few new cuts.

While lawmakers are not required to listen to Quinn’s suggestion, the governor’s budget address sets the tone for the budget negotiations that will continue during the spring session.

Democrats, who have supermajority control in both chambers, have an added incentive to maintain a unified front on the budget plan as they look ahead to key November matchups, including the governor’s race.

Republicans are vowing to fight Quinn’s plan to permanently enact a 67 percent tax increase that originally was promised to be temporary.

Here are some of the key components of the plan:

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Quinn’s budget suggests repurposing two recently closed youth correctional centers as adult lockups to address “current corrections needs,” assistant budget director Abdon Pallasch said.

The Murphysboro youth center, which closed two years ago, could serve as a facility minimum security facility for more than 400 drunken driving offenders, according to the governor’s office. Pallasch described the facility as a “first of its kind dedicated state alcohol addiction treatment facility” that would “operate on a system of restorative justice, allowing offenders to go back to the community and promote community service.”

The Murphysboro facility would operate as a satellite within either the Pinckneyville or Menard correctional centers.

The Joliet Youth home, which closed last February, also would be repurposed, according to governor’s budget office documents.

Pallasch said the facility would be used for some of the Department of Corrections’ 4,600 inmates classified as “seriously mentally ill.”

The Youth Center, he said, already meets the security level needs for the types of offenders that would be housed there, Pallasch said.

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