Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich last week sent a letter to his department heads, the state’s comptroller and treasurer, social service agencies, and university managers warning them of looming cuts if he cannot reach an agreement with the General Assembly on how to eliminate a $2 billion deficit in the fiscal 2009 budget passed by lawmakers.

The governor’s letter warned that officials should be prepared for massive cuts, the elimination of programs, hiring freezes, and spending freezes for all but essential and priority spending by the state if no agreement is reached soon. The new fiscal year begins July 1. The letter was widely reported late last week.

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