Commission votes to keep 3 facilities Illinois open
SPRINGFIELD — A legislative commission bucked parts of Gov. Pat Quinn’s facility closure plan, voting along regional lines to keep two prisons and a facility for those with developmental disabilities open.
In a political twist, mainly Republicans on the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability voted 3-7 Tuesday to keep open the Tamms Correctional Center, a “supermax” prison; Dwight Correctional Center, a woman’s prison; and Murray Developmental Center in Centralia.
The commission's recommendations now are in Quinn's hands.
Democrats, mostly from Chicago, voted to close the downstate facilities.
Lawmakers said most of the consternation over the proposed closures comes from a lack of a long-term plan from Quinn.
“These are issues that are long-term situations, not ones that can be decided in the next 30 days while we work on a budget,” state Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford, said.
COGFA already has voted against closing the Singer Mental Health Center in Rockford, which is in Syverson’s district.
State Sen. Jeffrey Schoenberg, D-Evanston, who voted to close the three facilities, argued that Quinn has provided the framework needed to shutter the facilities.
“In the case of Murray, as with Jacksonville (Developmental Center), the administration has come a great distance since proposing these closures,” Schoenberg said.
Quinn first proposed the closures last year when the budget passed by the General Assembly was more than $300 million short, and laid out a similar plan to save money in his budget address this year.
“We have incorporated a great deal of (COGFA’s) input into our facility closure plans; however, we must continue to deal with our budget challenges and make the difficult decisions necessary to restore fiscal stability to Illinois,” Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said.
COGFA has voted against most of Quinn's closure recommendations, but it did vote unanimously to shutter a Department of Children and Family Services office in Skokie. Employees there will be transferred to another office.
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