Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said Monday that he will allow his Put Illinois to Work temporary jobs program to expire early next year.
The program was initially backed by $215 million in federal funds. When that amount was exhausted, the state used $122 million of its own money to keep it running.
Quinn's extension of the program using $47 million in part from the state's recent $1.46 billion tobacco deal prompted Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont, to ask earlier this month whether the state could afford it.
"When the state is facing a $15 billion deficit and owes billions more in bonding and pension debt, we have an obligation to ask, 'Is this program the most effective way to create the good-paying, permanent jobs that Illinois needs?' " Radogno said.
Radogno said in a statement that she believed using the tobacco proceeds "may be a violation of both the letter and intent of the law enacted authorizing the securitization of tobacco settlement funds to reduce the state's bill backlog."
Radogno wrote to Quinn asking how many of the 26,000 program participants had transitioned to permanent, non-subsidized jobs and how many participating employers have committed to offering permanent employment to workers.
The Chicago Tribune reported that most of the participants received $10-an-hour jobs under the program, but most were temporary and fewer than 10% grew into full-time positions.