Illinois GOP legislators ask: Who needs a lieutenant governor?
This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 9, 2009 - While Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder seeks to protect his favorite event -- the Tour of Missouri bicycle race -- his counterpart in Illinois has a more serious problem:
The Illinois lieutenant governor doesn't exist.
And some Illinois state legislators would like to keep it that way.
The post of Illinois lieutenant governor has been vacant since then-Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn moved up to become governor following the January resignation of then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Both are Democrats.
Now, several Republican members of the House -- including assistant GOP leader Ron Stephens of Highland -- are proposing to eliminate Illinois' lieutenant governor's office altogether. They presented their ideas to Quinn on Thursday.
The Illinois lieutenant governor's office has an annual budget of about $2 million. In a statement, the legislators seeking the cut said they " believe the office should be eliminated, especially when the state is facing a massive budget deficit."
Stephens' staff declined to return calls seeking comment. But in a statement, Stephens said that eliminating the lieutenant governor's office was among several proposals that represented "a much better way to trim from state government than by laying off front-line employees in various state agencies."