Gov. Pat Quinn hit back Tuesday at state Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington, who criticized the Quinn administration after Illinois’ credit rating was cut Monday. Brady said it was the result of Quinn’s failed economic policies.

Gov. Pat Quinn hit back Tuesday at state Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington, who criticized the Quinn administration after Illinois’ credit rating was cut Monday. Brady said it was the result of Quinn’s failed economic policies.


“You have a person who didn’t even show up in the General Assembly,” Quinn said of Brady. “Less than half the time did he show up for important votes. I’m not sure I want to take advice from someone who takes their pay, but doesn’t show up for work.”


The Daily Herald reported recently that Brady missed more than 200 votes during a busy period for the Senate. Brady has since announced he would not accept daily expense money for the time he missed the votes. Quinn thinks Brady should go further.


“I think someone who doesn’t show up for work shouldn’t get paid,” Quinn said.


“Given the condition of the state, I don’t think Gov. Quinn wants to launch a debate on who deserves a paycheck from taxpayers,” responded Brady spokeswoman Patty Schuh.


Schuh also said there’s more to being a senator than voting on the Senate floor, including helping constituents “get paid by a government that’s been a deadbeat.”


“There has been a focus on a very small period of time,” she said of the missed votes. “We acknowledged that he missed votes, but he also made many, many votes.”


Quinn said he is still trying to round up Senate votes for a pension borrowing plan, but didn’t say whether he’s gaining any ground.


A plan to borrow up to $4 billion to meet next year’s pension payment obligation passed the House last month, but stalled in the Senate. Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, has said Republican votes are needed to pass the bill, but so far GOP senators have refused.


“We’re working on that. We’re working on everybody,” Quinn said.


Cullerton has told senators to be prepared to return to Springfield to vote on the bill, but has not said when. Cullerton spokeswoman Rikeesha Phelon said there are no plans to return now because chamber leaders don’t know that any senator has switched positions.


Doug Finke can be reached at 788-1527.


University borrowing authority approved


Illinois’ public universities can now borrow money to help them pay bills while waiting for the state to make good on its promises.


Gov. Pat Quinn signed Senate Bill 642, which gives the nine public state universities some breathing room while waiting for funds the state has promised, but not delivered.


Southern Illinois University President Glen Poshard said his school is owed about $106 million and he doesn’t expect to see the money before the end of 2010. The bill would let SIU borrow about $80 million.


“It’s critical to getting us through the July and August payrolls,” Poshard said. “Borrowing is the only way right now of keeping our programs alive and in some cases keeping our doors open.”


The University of Illinois is owed about $367 million, according to university spokesman Thomas Hardy. Hardy said the university board hasn’t decided whether to borrow money. A decision will be based on the university’s cash flow situation over the next several weeks.


“We hope this will not be necessary,” he said. “It is not a foregone conclusion.”


Sen. Gary Forby, D-Benton, said the measure is only a “Band-Aid deal” until the state comes up with more revenue. Although the Senate approved an income tax increase last year, the House has not followed suit.


“I wouldn’t call it a Band-Aid, but it is in a sense what we have to have to get over the hump,” Poshard said.


Poshard said SIU cut spending by $13 million, implemented a hiring freeze and has forced its own vendors to wait 90 days for payment rather than 30.


The U of I cut spending by $82 million this year, Hardy said, including $17 million by having employees take unpaid days off. The university also imposed a hiring freeze and eliminated salary increases, he said.


-- Doug Finke