Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration said this week it plans to appeal a court ruling halting hundreds of layoffs that were to take effect this week in order to help balance the fiscal 2010 budget.

Saline County Circuit Court Judge Todd Lambert issued a preliminary injunction temporarily blocking 500 layoffs at the request of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. The union filed a compliant claiming that the layoffs violate its contract with the state and put public safety at risk.

Lambert told the two sides to use arbitration to resolve differences. The state believes the layoffs are legally permissible under the contract and do not jeopardize safety. A total of 2,600 layoffs are planned, and the initial round was set to take effect this week, including prison guards. The governor could be forced to turn to other spending cuts if the state cannot proceed soon with the layoffs. Illinois faced a $12 billion deficit going into fiscal 2010 July 1.

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