The governor’s right-hand woman hopes he’ll lay out an ambitious plan to improve education during the state of the state speech today.   Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon (pictred, left) spent much of 2011 touring Illinois schools and community colleges, and believes education is where the state should invest. The State Board of Education has requested a funding increase for Fiscal Year 2013, but even Simon says that’s unlikely to happen.

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“I can’t imagine anything in the state budget increasing at this point outside of the things that are increasing on their own, pension spending, Medicaid spending,” she says. “That really puts a pinch on everything else in the budget.”   Simon says the governor’s speech tomorrow will hopefully lay out ambitious goals to spark discussions and get things done. The governor says the speech will focus largely on job creation. He likely won’t lay out budget proposals, as that speech is in three weeks.

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