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Quinn: Cut state budget 9 percent, but spare education, health care, police

New KitchenAid refrigerator with Preserva(TM) Food Care System manages slow nature apos;s usual timetable significantly.  (PRNewsFoto/KitchenAid)

New KitchenAid refrigerator with the Preserva(TM) Food Care System manages to slow nature's usual timetable significantly. (PRNewsFoto/KitchenAid)

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Updated: March 20, 2012 8:14AM

It’s gonna be tough love in the state budget.

Sneed has learned Gov. Pat Quinn asked all constitutional officers and a majority of state agencies to cut their budgets by at least 9 percent this year, but has spared education, health care and state police.

Quinn called for the cuts in advance of his budget address next week.

“Often criticized for overspending, Quinn has actually significantly cut the state’s discretionary spending to well below 2008 levels,” according to a source.

Sock it to me ...

He almost got away with it.

In a sweep code-named, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T,” Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart’s Warrant Unit hit the streets last week in anticipation of Valentine’s Day.

◆ The target: Those wanted on domestic warrants.

Freeze ’em: Initially stalled at the front door of a Chicago Heights home by the girlfriend of a wanted man, sheriff’s police searched in vain until they opened the refrigerator. “He’d used the time to make space for himself,” a source said.

◆ Endgame: Over 60 arrests were made, including 11 females.

Murder, Inc.

Chicago’s murder rate, which had been sky rocketing off the charts early this year, has eased up dramatically.

◆ Background: The first 23 days of 2012 saw a 74 percent increase in murders compared to the same time period last year (from 19 murders in 2011 to 33 this year).

◆ Foreground: As of Friday, statistics show the murder rate is now only 9 percent greater than it was this time last year (from 44 murders in 2011 up to 48 in 2012).

◆ The reason: Police spokesman Melissa Stratton, citing preliminary information, attributed the drop to a recent saturation of police resources in the 7th and 11th districts — which accounted for nearly one third of this year’s murders.

Oh Oh Oprah ...

For the first time since her movie debut, TV diva Oprah Winfrey may star in “The Butler,” a film about Eugene Allen, an African-American White House butler who served eight presidents between 1952 and 1986. Oprah is eyeing the role of Allen’s wife, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Other stars in the film include John Cusack, Mila Kunis and Hugh Jackman.

Music notes ...

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, what’s a song worth in the presidential sweepstakes?

◆ Consider: Singer Kelly Clarkson is a huge fan of GOP presidential contender Ron Paul; Kiss bassist Gene Simmons admires Mitt Romney; and aging singer Pat Boone of the Elvis Presley era, is for Rick Santorum.

Fire alert!

Here’s a question: Why is there a much publicized nationwide search for the best and brightest when it comes to selecting the superintendent of Chicago Police, but when it comes to filling the role of Fire Department commissioner — it’s like: ‘Who’s next?’”
Tips & twaddle ...

◆ Plastic please: Prince William and wife, Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, have been turned into Barbie dolls, the Mattel toy company announced last week.

◆ Sean scene: Here’s the religious background of filmmaker Sean Stone, 27, who converted to Islam on Tuesday in Iran, where he is making a documentary: His father, Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone, is Jewish. His mother is Christian.

Houston chronicle ...

A bittersweet memory: The late singer Whitney Houston, whose funeral was Saturday in her New Jersey hometown, was called “Nippy” by her friends while growing up in Newark. It was a nickname given to her by her father. Say whaaa ...

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has replaced her “you betcha” catch phrase with a new one: “goodness gracious.” Won’t that be fun when she announces once again she will be seeking political office — which she is threatening to do.

Sneedlings ...

Today’s birthdays: Justine Bateman, 46; Seal, 49; Jeff Daniels, 57, and Smokey Robinson, 72 ... Monday’s birthdays: Rihanna, 24; Andrew Shue, 45; Cindy Crawford, 46; Charles Barkley, 49; Patty Hearst, 58; Gordon Brown, 61; Sidney Poitier, and Ivana Trump, 63, ex-wife of “The Donald,” who was spotted in St. Bart’s recently wearing a tan and a guy more age appropriate than previous toy boys.

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