New Governor Visits Heartland - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

New Governor Visits Heartland

On just his second day as the new Illinois Governor, Rod Blagojevich stopped off in the Heartland to lay out his plans for a renewal and reform of the state.

Governor Blagojevich wasted no time getting down to business after taking over the reins. He handed out pink slips to 35 people hired by former Governor Ryan in his eleventh hour. "We'll continue to review every appointment that was made by Governor Ryan in the closing days of his administration. Without exception we will continue to eliminate employees who were appointed inappropriately to the state payroll, " says Blagojevich.

The first Democratic Illinois Governor since the mid-seventies also put a freezing hire on all state hires and promotions until further notice. "This is not a long term freeze. What this is, is a stop-gap in the next several days and weeks until we can get the right people in place," said Blagojevich.

The Governor also assured the crowd gathered at the Southern Illinois airport in Murphysboro, that he's working on a number of ways to revitalize Southern Illinois Coal mines. But he said his first priority is to cut the " fat " in Springfield, which will start by cutting state employee perks. "The majority of state cars that are at the disposal of state employees are perks, and we will cut those perks," Blagojevich said to a thunder of applause.

Governor Blagojevich stressed that he and his staff have come up with a financial plan to balance a projected $5 billion dollar deficit, without raising sales and state income taxes. "Our state is facing the worst financial crunch in our history. We cannot afford to waste a single dollar. The days of taking care of insiders first and taxpayers last are over," Blagojevich said.

The new governor will be traveling to Washington D.C. next month to meet with President George Bush and Congress. Governor Blagojevich said he'll be asking for more Federal Funds for highway maintenance and Medicaid payments.

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