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Rutherford: State to host veterans outreach workshop

Thursday, March 20, 2003 Posted 9:30 p.m.
The state will offer a free information workshop to provide qualified veterans with information about job opportunities in state government, according to Senator Dan Rutherford (R-Pontiac).

The Veteran Outreach Workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday, April 11, 2003, at VFW Post 886, 531 W. Lincoln in Pontiac. Job counseling will be available onsite starting until 2 p.m. and job testing will be available until 12:30 p.m.

-This is an excellent opportunity for local veterans to meet one-on-one with state employment counselors and learn how to enhance their chances for state employment,- said Rutherford. -I encourage area veterans come out and see what opportunities are available in state government.-

Workshops are held throughout the state to eliminate the long distances some veterans must travel for testing and/or counseling concerning state employment.

The program is sponsored by the Illinois Department of Central Management Services- Veterans Outreach Program in conjunction with the Illinois Department of Veterans- Affairs and the Illinois Department of Employment Security. Those wishing more information should contact the Veterans Outreach Program at 800/643-8138.

Rutherford pledges to work with Governor

Rutherford called on the Governor to present details on how he is going to spend the money garnered by a massive plan to refinance the state-s public pension debt.

-Conceptually, I could sign onto the plan, but until I know where the money is going, I cannot fully support the proposal,- said Rutherford. -I know many of my colleagues feel the same way. That is why in early February we asked for a budget summit. We wanted to start working with the Governor on his plan for the budget. We want to work together as we consider the budget legislation this spring. Cooperation is what we want. We are more than willing to sit down, roll up our sleeves and get going.-

The only budget insight the Governor has offered thus far is his plan to refinance the pension debt by selling $10 billion in bonds. The Governor has asked for Republican votes on the measure to bring in the cash, but he has not yet provided the spending part of the budget.

-Before the state borrows $10 billion, I want to know how the money is going to be spent,- Rutherford said. -A number of my colleagues, myself included, think the pension refinancing plan has potential, but we want to see the spending details as well. I want to know where the Governor is headed on an overall plan before we commit to backing only a piece of it.-

Lawmakers are concerned that the refinancing plan may be coupled with new spending and not coupled with the cuts needed to keep a balanced budget.

In light of the more than $88 million in new spending programs the Governor outlined last week, Rutherford is particularly concerned about the $10 billion refinancing.

According to Rutherford, his primary responsibility as Senator is to balance the budget and look out for the interests of taxpayers.

-I want to balance the budget and avoid tax increases. I simply want some reassurance that the bond refinancing will be used for that purpose and an idea of how the entire budget picture will look first,- said Rutherford.