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Expert Says Voters Share Blame In State's Budget Gridlock

CHICAGO (CBS) -- If voters are looking for someone to blame for the continued gridlock among the governor and state lawmakers, a political expert said they might want to head for a mirror.

Southern Illinois University's Paul Simon Public Policy Institute has reviewed public opinion polls over the past nine years, and director David Yepsen said you can see the roots of current problems there.

"Some of this gridlock that we're finding in Springfield really is a function of voters. Illinois voters know there's a budget problem; they don't want to raise taxes, but they also don't want to cut spending," he said. "So it's little wonder that politicians in Springfield are having trouble sorting this out, because the voters are too."


Yepsen said legislators' inability to settle on a way out of the budget mess reflects their constituents' inability to articulate how to address the problem.

"If you ask people in Illinois whether we should cut spending or raise taxes to fix the budget, they tend to say cut spending. But if you ask them do you want to cut education? No. Do you want to cut health care? No. Do you want to cut natural resources or the environment? No. So voters are having trouble themselves coming to the resolution of how we deal with this budget," he said.

Yepsen said voters must realize the problem is so big,any resolution likely will involve both spending cuts and a tax increase.

"The good news is, there tends to be a little bit of an increase in support for doing that," he said.

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