SPRINGFIELD -- Lincoln city officials and area lawmakers received no promises about the state keeping the Logan Correctional Center open during a meeting Tuesday with officials of the Quinn administration.

SPRINGFIELD -- Lincoln city officials and area lawmakers received no promises about the state keeping the Logan Correctional Center open during a meeting Tuesday with officials of the Quinn administration.


Instead, they were told the fate of the institution rests with state lawmakers and what they do about revamping the state budget during the veto session.


“If the (budget) vetoes weren’t sustained and if they weren’t able to get the dollars moved around, they basically said they would have no other choice” but to close the prison, Lincoln Mayor Keith Snyder said following the meeting.


“They said if they don’t get some type of appropriation, they are going to be forced to go ahead with the closing,” said Rep. Rich Brauer, R-Petersburg, whose district includes Lincoln.


Gov. Pat Quinn has said the Logan Correctional Center and six other state facilities have to close because state lawmakers did not provide enough money to keep them open for an entire year.  Nearly 2,000 state employees will be laid off, Quinn said.


Lincoln officials and lawmakers representing the area asked for a meeting with Quinn to lay out the harm that will come to the community if the facility closes.  The state’s own economic impact study said 460 direct and indirect jobs will be affected by the closure and $73 million worth of economic activity in the county will be disrupted.


“We wanted (Quinn) to hear our stories,” Snyder said


Quinn, though, wasn’t at the meeting.  The group met instead with Quinn advisor Jerome Stermer and former state Rep. Gary Hannig, who is now on contract with Quinn’s budget office.


“We had a good discussion,” said Snyder although he said he was disappointed that Quinn didn’t attend the meeting.


Snyder said the group pressed the fact that Lincoln will sustain the highest economic damages of any of the seven communities where facilities are to close.


“If you look at what they will save in the first year, $9 million, and compare that to our $73 million economic impact, for every dollar the state saves in closing Logan, they are going to take $8 out of our local economy,” Snyder said.  “We made the argument that we don’t think that is a fair sacrifice to ask us to make.”


They also presented petitions signed by 8,000 people asking that the prison be kept open.


Quinn cut about $376 million from the budget lawmakers sent to him last spring. 


So far, lawmakers have not signaled what they plan to do with the budget during the veto session.


House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, has said lawmakers can move money around within the budget, but they cannot spend more than the bottom line established last spring.


 


Doug Finke can be reached at (217) 788-1527.


 


Want to go?


The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability will hold a hearing on closing the Logan correctional Center Wednesday.


When: 5 p.m.


Where: Chapel Auditorium on the campus of Lincoln Christian University, 100 Campus View Drive, Lincoln.