Governor calls last year's budget "an aberration", unaware of Rezko gambling debts

Governor calls last year's budget "an aberration", unaware of Rezko gambling debts

Posted by JP on Thu, 05/29/2008 - 15:14

I staked out the Capitol’s basement level loading dock over my lunch hour in hopes of catching Gov. Rod Blagojevich on his way into the building. Yes, that’s his preferred entrance.

Sure enough, the governor entertained a couple questions as we walked down the basement hallway to an elevator that takes him up to his office. Here’s a transcript:

Q: If the General Assembly sends you a budget that’s unbalanced, doesn’t have the revenues to match spending, what are the first things you’re going to look to cut?

Governor: Look, I can’t believe the General assembly would send me a budget that’s not balanced. The General Assembly knows that the constitution requires a balanced budget. I find it hard to believe that they would send me a budget that’s not balanced. So I think it’s kind of a moot question.

I have confidence they’ll do the right thing and send me a budget that’s balanced. I understand last year … I choose to believe that was an aberration when they sent me a budget that was more than a billion dollars in deficit. I have to think, acknowledging that, that they would never do that again. So I’m confident they’ll send me a balanced budget.

Q: Didn’t know if you saw the Las Vegas paper’s story today on Mr. Rezko and his gambling debt? Did you know anything about that?

Governor: I have a confession to make, I never read the Las Vegas newspaper.

Q: You know, before today I didn’t either. A couple hundred thousand dollars in debts are being claimed by certain casinos there.

Governor: I don’t know.

Q: Did you ever go to Vegas with him?

Governor: No. I’ve been to Vegas one time in my life, I spoke to the plumbers and pipefitters convention in August 2006, and I got up real early, like about 5 in the morning, because I went out and ran like 7 miles because it’s like 100 degrees there in August. Then, I got that run in, soaked my legs in the pool a little bit and then got a plane back. So that’s the only time I’ve been to Vegas.”

Q: Are you optimistic there’ll be a (budget)deal before June 1?

Governor: I hope the General Assembly gets it done on time. I hope we can take care of all the necessary work for the people and hope they get it done by midnight on Saturday, May 31. I’m hopeful and cautiously optimistic they’ll do it.

Q: Do you have summer plans?
Governor: There’s a gospel singer named Cristy Lane and she sings I think the best version of a song that I really think is great which is called “One day at a time sweet Jesus.”

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