SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. Pat Quinn on Wednesday called for the state’s other constitutional officers to cut their budgets by 9 percent, but those officials were noncommittal about the idea.

SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. Pat Quinn on Wednesday called for the state’s other constitutional officers to cut their budgets by 9 percent, but those officials were noncommittal about the idea.


Republican State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka accused Quinn of borrowing the idea from his 2010 gubernatorial opponent, state Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington.


“A while back, when he ran for office and Bill Brady came up with 10 percent across the board, (Quinn) said it was inhumane. Now suddenly we’re at 9 percent,” Topinka said.


But Topinka seemed to be of two minds when asked whether she will comply with the governor’s request.


“I don’t like across-the-board cuts because I think you throw out the good with the bad,” she said. “I think you need to really look more incisively what you need to get rid of and what you need to keep. There’s plenty to get rid of. We’ve been doing it all along. We have fewer people than we’ve had since about 1998. So we’re at that level.”


Topinka also doesn’t like the idea of trimming the state payroll further.


“Somebody has to answer the phone,” Topinka said. “We have the lowest proportion of employees to people … of any state. You don’t want to take us down to nothing or this state will not function.”


GOP State Treasurer Dan Rutherford has cut his budget by 2 percent already, he said, and will look at whether more reductions can be made.


“I’m not opposed to it,” Rutherford said. “Some concern is that I’ve got a computer system that runs the state finances. That’s not something you can cut. I’m willing to look at what I can do.”


Spokespeople for Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Secretary of State Jesse White, both Democrats, said those offices generate revenue for the state.


Dave Druker, a spokesman for White, said that office has not submitted its budget yet. 


“We will outline a budget that will contain cuts,” he said. “We fully respect the difficult situation the state is in.”


However, he stopped short of saying White will match the 9 percent cut requested by Quinn.


“We want to be as cooperative as possible, but we don’t want to go back to the old days of long lines at the facilities,” Druker said.


Natalie Bauer, spokeswoman for Madigan, says that office’s budget hearing is in late March.


“We are crunching the numbers right now,” she said. 


Chris Wetterich can be reached at (217) 788-1523. Doug Finke can be reached at (217) 788-1527. Political writer Bernard Schoenburg contributed to this report.