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Quinn calls for 'responsible' budget

Associated Press

CHICAGO - Gov. Pat Quinn is calling for a "responsible" budget that properly funds Illinois schools, as Democratic leaders continue their push to extend a temporary income tax increase.

With one week left in the spring legislative session, lawmakers have failed to pass a 2015 spending plan. Efforts to extend the tax have so far been defeated. So has a revised budget that Democratic leaders developed in an attempt to push reluctant lawmakers into backing the tax hike. That budget blueprint would have made deep cuts to schools.

To keep the pressure on, Quinn was visiting a high school in Rantoul and Northern Illinois University in DeKalb Saturday.

In a statement, he says every child deserves a great education and it's important to pass "a responsible budget that properly funds our schools."

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CHICAGO - U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk wants the director of a suburban Chicago veterans hospital to step down.

The Edward Hines, Jr. Veterans Affairs Hospital is being investigated in response to allegations that secret waiting lists were used to hide delays in appointments.

Kirk told reporters Friday that Director Joan Ricard should resign. Ricard has denied there were secret wait lists.

There has been no word from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs inspector general about any wrongdoing.

The Republican senator and Navy veteran has seized on more than $16 million in bonuses for Hines staff since 2011. Kirk called it "an obscene amount of money" for staff turning out what he called "a low level of care."

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