Governor's Budget Proposal Has GOP Lawmakers Concerned

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As part of his $53 billion budget, Gov. Rod Blagojevich is targeting the future workers to deal a present budget crisis: proposing to redirect $800 million in pension costs for future teachers and state employees.

"That is totally out of balance. He's going to have to come back with a real budget that spends the people's money reasonably," State Rep. Dave Winters said.

To help pump dollars into the Chicago Transit Authority, Blagojevich proposes a 75-cent hike in fees on cigarettes, which stateline lawmakers fear will smoke out tax revenues to Wisconsin and Iowa.

"We know that if we put a huge tax on this state, when you are close to another state, that people are just going to go over the border and will end up hurting our own state," State Sen. Dave Syverson said.

Here in Rockford, opinion is mixed on the proposed spike in cigarette taxes.

"To raise taxes in Chicago, I don't know if that's the right thing to do, but if it gets people to quit smoking, then good for them," Margie Lenox said.

"I don't know, if they keep raising the fees maybe it will get more people to quit," Richard McGuire said.

The governor's budget also would include $140 million in spending for education, less than one percent more than schools received for this year. Republican lawmakers say Blagojevich budget proposal could keep them in overtime session again to get it passed.