* When the House Republicans pulled their support for the budget over a disagreement on pension reform, the House Democrats had to find votes to pass a very lean budget without GOP help. That meant freeing up a bit of money for pet projects. The AP has a story today on some of those line items…
A close look at the state budget shows a handful of grants that take money away from general services and divert it to specific groups: $400,000 for a neighborhood development group on Chicago’s south side, $1.1 million to bus children to religious schools, $750,000 for a commission on Latino families. The list goes on. […]
The Chicagoland Regional College Program is supposed to get $2 million. The program provides financial aid to students who attend one of six Chicago-area colleges and who also work at a UPS shipping facility in Hodgkins, southwest of Chicago.
How will the money be used? Which legislator asked for it to be put in the budget? An administrator with the program said they would not discuss the issue until Gov. Pat Quinn signs the budget into law.
The budget includes $400,000 for the Brainerd Community Development Corp. on Chicago’s south side. The group shares a building with Democratic Rep. Monique Davis, who has a track record of arranging state aid for the organization. The Chicago Sun-Times has reported that Brainerd employees have collected signatures for her nominating petitions, examined opponents’ petitions and donated to her campaign.
Davis said through an aide that the grant will help Brainerd Community Development provide job training, GED classes, computer courses and other services for the neighborhood. But she would not answer questions about how the grant came to be included in the budget.
* Meanwhile, some people still say they haven’t seen any budget cuts. They do exist. For instance…
Jeff Squibb, spokesman for the state Department of Agriculture, said agriculture’s budget has been reduced by 40 percent since 2008
* State’s fiscal woes impact ag department
* SJ-R: Approve fees to help DNR
* Up in smoke: Tobacco taxes
* Activists applaud Quinn for closing Tamms