Gov. Pat Quinn plans to ask lawmakers to let him put off sending them his annual budget proposal until after the March 18 primary election.
The Democrat is facing a tough budget year as the state's 2011 tax hike is supposed to decrease halfway through, leaving Quinn and lawmakers with less money to work with. He's eyeing March 26 to give a budget speech originally scheduled for Feb. 19, and he'll need an OK from lawmakers to make the change.
Quinn spokesman Brooke Anderson said the governor didn't seek the change to delay coming out with potentially controversial budget plans until after the election. She said the yearly speech has been pushed back before.
"The governor's proposal is going to be the governor's proposal," Anderson said.
In addition to detailing a plan for the next year's budget, Quinn plans to lay out a five-year vision that considers money that could be saved by cuts to teachers' and state workers' pensions approved last year.
"We need to look at the bigger budget picture," Anderson said.
Not everyone is happy about the procrastinating.
Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno of Lemont said she was OK with granting Quinn an extension the year he took over for former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, but she said she wants to get things moving this year.
"To push back the presentation of the state's budget by five weeks for purely political purposes is a disservice to the taxpayers," Radogno said. "It's an abuse of the legislative process and I resent it."
Quinn is opposed in the Democratic primary by Tio Hardiman of Hillside.