There is one group of folks who will certainly earn their money from the new state budget - they are the spokesmen for Gov. Rod Blagojevich. They will be charged with trying to make the governor's budget actions not look as vile as they truly are.


On Thursday, Blagojevich finally issued his line-item veto message that cut $463 million from the state's $59 billion fiscal 2008 spending plan. Actually, the word cut is not correct. Blagojevich simply wants to remove the money from certain line items to free up the funds for his plans to expand state-subsidized health care.


Yet, his line-item vetoes demonstrated that the governor's real motivation is not helping people but making a name for himself as the governor who expanded health care. There was a time we did not question Blagojevich's sincerity on health care. Thanks to his bizarre behavior these past few months that time has past.


It is also vital to point out that while most of what Blagojevich cut from the budget were one-time expenses, he is attempting to set them aside for a subsidized health-care program that will be ongoing and will eventually cost more than four times the $463 million he "cut" this year.


For a guy who doesn't want to raise your taxes - well, at least not unless he can raise them by several billions dollars through his proposed gross-receipts tax - Blagojevich is setting up a scenario that could guarantee a general tax increase to pay for his priorities.


The word ironic is probably not strong enough to describe some of the cuts the governor made in order to fund his health-care initiative. His line-item reductions included trimming $40 million in Medicaid payments to hospitals and $50 million in Medicaid money for nursing homes. Blagojevich also took $11 million from a $29.3 million appropriation meant to provide cost-of-living raises for community providers for the developmentally disabled as well as removing money that would have benefited alcohol and substance abuse treatment providers.


That's far from all health-care-related cuts - mental health, autism, birth-defect tracking and even veterans-related health-care items were all cut. And it doesn't have to say health in the line-item to be health-related. Money was cut for wastewater treatment and water line improvements around the state. Keeping small towns on septic systems or faulty sewage systems can certainly affect a community's health in a very serious way.


But this isn't just about the absurdity of what got cut ($250,000 for a medical training program through Lincoln Land Community College) or what was left in ($40,000 for the Springfield Figure Skating Club).  This is about how the system is being abused to arrive at these vetoes.


Let us just say it bluntly - it appears Blagojevich bought off his pal Senate President Emil Jones, who refuses to allow his chamber to even consider overriding the governor's budgetary vetoes.  Given the largess collected by Jones' relatives of late, it's not surprising such a dirty deal could be struck.


Yet with the lopsided passage of the budget in both chambers, we can only assume that an override would be a sure bet if it were allowed to be voted on. House Speaker Michael Madigan may yet call for an override, though his spokesman said as of now no session days are scheduled.  And if the Senate is not allowed to vote, a House vote to override is at best a symbolic victory.


Jones is welcome to vote "no" on any overrides, but he needs to step out of the way in blocking a Senate vote. Acting as the governor's brick wall sets a terrible precedent. Essentially, Jones is saying that it is OK for the governor to rewrite a budget even over a supermajority consensus of the legislature. We don't care if Jones wants to sell himself short, but he has no right to do so for the entire state.