* I did not know this statute existed…
(20 ILCS 210/5) (from Ch. 127, par. 1705)
Sec. 5. The Department [of Agriculture] shall annually hold a State Fair at Springfield and DuQuoin to promote agriculture, the agriculture industry, and provide for exhibits and activities in the fields of industry, education, the arts and crafts, labor, entertainment and other areas of interest to the people of the State.
* I found that out by reading a new piece by Jamey Dunn…
[Sen. John Sullivan] says entertainment acts have already received some payment from last year’s budget. If the fair were canceled, the state would lose some or all of that money. He points out the economic activity from the fairs brings in tax dollars at a time when the state budget and many local budgets are struggling. “There would be a definite negative impact on the state of Illinois for canceling acts and canceling the fair—number one. Number two, the economic impact that the fair has for the region is actually going to bring money into the state’s coffers,” Sullivan says. “So if you look at it from the local economy standpoint, the regional economy there in the Springfield area, it certainly has a very positive impact. So again, that actually helps some of our problems instead of doing a detriment to us.”
Retired University of Illinois political science professor Kent Redfield says that no matter what’s in state law about the fairs, without a budget Illinois can’t spend on them. That means no operating funds for costs like temporary workers, gas and water. But he notes Rauner has already found a way, through the courts, to keep paying state employees without funding. “If you don’t have a budget, then you ought to be out of business. But obviously there are certain areas where the governor’s office has decided to put extraordinary effort into trying to keep certain things going, and one of them appears to be the state fair.”
Redfield says some in the state might question why the fairs are moving ahead while other state services are on hold. “Lot’s of people depend on the state fair. It has a huge economic impact. There’s every reason in the world to try and make it go. But if I’m a social service provider who’s laying off people or going out of business, I’m probably questioning the state’s priorities in terms of what really is or isn’t the primary function of state government.”
Good points by Redfield.
Speaker Madigan, by the way, said yesterday that “Democrat Day” will take place during the fair this year. The governor’s people told Jamey that vendors could face delayed payments.