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“The other white meat” found in “Capitol Compromise”

Monday, Jun 19, 2017

* From the Illinois Policy Institute’s news service

A compromise budget plan introduced by Illinois Republicans earlier last week includes a spending bill that funds more than $169 million in capital projects in lawmakers’ home districts across the state, an Illinois News Network review revealed.

State Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, called the appropriations “earmarks” and “wasteful.”

“I was shocked to see Senator Bill Brady’s recently filed SB 2216, which is described as ‘FY 18 Member Initiatives’,” McSweeney said. “Special earmarks lead to wasteful spending and potentially corruption. I strongly oppose special insider earmarks.” […]

McSweeney said Brady’s capital spending bill “appears to be a part of a strategy to pass a massive tax increase.” He called on the Legislative Audit Commission to “do a full review and investigation of every earmark in the bill. Every member who has requested an earmark in the bill should be identified and required to testify at a public hearing.”

The lawmaker questioned several specific items in the bill, saying, “I can’t wait to hear the explanation” for the following:

    $19,700 to the City of Morrison for renovations to the Farmers’ Market Facility;
    $25,000 to Elk Grove Township for street sign improvements;
    $31,923 to the Preservation and Conservation Association of Champaign for renovations to the Harwood Solon House;
    $65,000 to the Institute for Puerto Rican Arts & Culture for construction of a “world class museum and Fine Arts Center;”
    $18,750 to the Village of Royal Lakes for “costs associated with capital improvements to Royal Lakes Community Center and gym.”
    $245,000 to St. Charles for new construction or infrastructure improvements.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

31 Comments
  1. - Saluki - Monday, Jun 19, 17 @ 11:25 am:

    Beautiful. Just Beautiful. face palm x 20.


  2. - Henry Francis - Monday, Jun 19, 17 @ 11:26 am:

    Heh, nice blank check to St. Charles


  3. - Deft Wing - Monday, Jun 19, 17 @ 11:28 am:

    Yeah, that St. Charles item is really curious.


  4. - LBJ - Monday, Jun 19, 17 @ 11:32 am:

    “I can’t wait to hear the explanation” for the following -

    Golly, I don’t know. Maybe some people like to have public facilities and structures in place that actually help people live and enjoy their lives and they don’t want to destroy government so we’re not all living in a Thunder Dome world…just saying.


  5. - 47th Ward - Monday, Jun 19, 17 @ 11:33 am:

    ===$169 million in capital projects in lawmakers’ home districts across the state===

    That’s the equivalent of a pork chop on a stick. By the time they get to a real budget, they’ll need to include a whole hog roast to get 71/36.


  6. - Nony - Monday, Jun 19, 17 @ 11:34 am:

    Either Arroyo got what he wanted or his threat was baseless lol


  7. - DuPage Saint - Monday, Jun 19, 17 @ 11:36 am:

    $65,000 to build a world class museum and fine arts center? Hire that contractor for all state construction jobs. Bet he is a non prevailing wage guy.


  8. - old pol - Monday, Jun 19, 17 @ 11:39 am:

    DuPage Saint - the $65,000 is the down payment. This pork project will be fed capital for years to come. Then the operating subsidies will kick in.


  9. - not again - Monday, Jun 19, 17 @ 11:39 am:

    I don’t think these are new. I could be wrong, but I think these are old projects from the last capital bill. The point is likely to make a reappropriation to keep these projects on the list.


  10. - Stumpy's bunker - Monday, Jun 19, 17 @ 11:40 am:

    …et tu, Senator Brady?


  11. - Blue Bayou - Monday, Jun 19, 17 @ 11:44 am:

    What is wrong with you people?

    This is called “civilization.” It’s money for infrastructure and investment. If you’re suspicious about where it’s going, demand an explanation and an audit. Transparency is good, but opposing governing and building is what has this state foundering and falling apart.

    I’m amazed at how little people understand about how politics and finance works.


  12. - Anonymous - Monday, Jun 19, 17 @ 11:46 am:

    Brady is a career politican that needs to be “reformed” by term limits.


  13. - Anonymous - Monday, Jun 19, 17 @ 11:52 am:

    Keep in mind McSweeney is opposed to any tax increase and thinks we can cut our way to a balanced budget.


  14. - @MisterJayEm - Monday, Jun 19, 17 @ 11:57 am:

    ___ These projects do not directly benefit me or my municipality and are self-evidently wasteful and outrageous.

    ___ These projects do directly benefit me or my municipality and are self-evidently wise and necessary.

    Check one.

    – MrJM


  15. - Annonin' - Monday, Jun 19, 17 @ 11:59 am:

    Wonder why McSweeney did not leak to media. Wonder why media did not report. Were all too busy writin’ abut the “compromise” ?


  16. - Paul - Monday, Jun 19, 17 @ 12:04 pm:

    The Senate plan did not have these spending?


  17. - Thoughts Matter - Monday, Jun 19, 17 @ 12:05 pm:

    In a good year, these would be lovely grants to help out worthy causes. In a year that social service agencies are closing their doors, and employees are getting dunned by collection agencies for claims that their employer ( the state) is responsible for…….yuck.


  18. - Really - Monday, Jun 19, 17 @ 12:07 pm:

    When you believe you are the smartest person in the room you just proved yourself wrong.

    Hey no one was suppose to read the bill


  19. - Anon221 - Monday, Jun 19, 17 @ 12:18 pm:

    According to the Morrison Farmers’ Market website, the market is an open air market. Is this earmark for them to build or renovate an enclosed area??? If so, there are other ways to get that done without relying on an earmark- investment by the city, increase vendor fees and save until you have enough to do the project, community investors (small dollars can add up), in-kind work to do the renovations, grants and loans.

    Believe me, there are a lot of Farmers’ Markets that would like an earmark like that!

    http://morrisonfarmersmarket.com/about/

    https://www.facebook.com/morrisonfarmersmarket

    •Sellers must furnish their own tables, chairs, drop cloths, display arrangements and rain protection. The market has a limited number of tents available for a rental fee of $5.00 per day. The market is open-air. No shelter is provided.


  20. - Emerson - Monday, Jun 19, 17 @ 12:20 pm:

    Most of these projects were underway well before the impasse–this is re-appropriation. I have one project that I have been waiting to complete for over two years and this permits the final payment of $18K


  21. - Phenomynous - Monday, Jun 19, 17 @ 12:24 pm:

    Wow, the sleuths over at IPI found a capital bill. Great investigative work. I bet if they look even deeper they will find the same bill introduced as part of every comprehensive budget proposal in recent years.


  22. - titan - Monday, Jun 19, 17 @ 12:25 pm:

    “more than $169 million in capital projects in lawmakers’ home districts across the state”

    Are there capital projects going on anywhere in Illinois that are not in any member’s home district?


  23. - JS Mill - Monday, Jun 19, 17 @ 12:31 pm:

    This is the same Bill Brady that wanted to purchase land in Normal using state money so that Bloomington Central Catholic to build a new football practice facility.

    He is a true scion of frugality.


  24. - DuPage Bard - Monday, Jun 19, 17 @ 12:37 pm:

    Isn’t this all out of the Illinois Jobs Now budget dollars from years ago? Video gaming to pay back the bonds? Or is this new money?


  25. - Newsclown - Monday, Jun 19, 17 @ 12:51 pm:

    Because the Invisible Hand of The Market would otherwise fund all these noble ventures and needed improvements, I’m sure. This is what governments and taxes are for: to manage and pay for things we all use or need for the common good, which are not provided by “market forces”. maybe these IPI guys would like us to go back to the days when cities had ten or more private fire-fighting organizations that only saved your burning house if you paid them up front.


  26. - Huh? - Monday, Jun 19, 17 @ 1:15 pm:

    A politician is going do what has to be done to round up votes for the bill. If that means a bit of pork, than a politician has something they can point at when the election roll around.

    I am in favor of legislative earmarks provided they are vetted as a needed project by a municipality. There ought to be an upper limit on when a politician can earmark.


  27. - Winnin' - Monday, Jun 19, 17 @ 3:40 pm:

    What did they expect from Brady, who Rauner pounced on as a “Careerfella” during the primary election.
    Is Rauner now on board with “Careerfellas”?


  28. - Tom - Monday, Jun 19, 17 @ 4:02 pm:

    what is so wrong with earmarks? Most good legislators want to bring home projects for their district.


  29. - Concerned about Macoupin - Monday, Jun 19, 17 @ 4:13 pm:

    I can’t speak for the other earmarks, but the Royal Lakes is concerning. Here’s some press for the past couple of years detailing the chaos and alleged corruption.

    http://thetelegraph.com/news/68812/part-3-conflicts-of-interest-claims-of-politics-curb-investigation-into-south-roxana-officials
    http://www.myjournalcourier.com/archive/4501/news-home_top-news-50931332-a-royal-mess
    http://thetelegraph.com/news/97681/royal-lakes-officials-skirt-state-electioneering-laws
    http://thetelegraph.com/news/103027/royal-lakes-clerk-4-trustees-abruptly-resign-in-wake-of-election
    http://enquirerdemocrat.com/royal-lakes-resignations


  30. - Superanonymouse - Monday, Jun 19, 17 @ 6:07 pm:

    So here’s some background regarding the Harwood Solon House, and the earmark being given to the Champaign County Preservation and Conservation Association:

    1. PACA is a private, not-for-profit entity. They aren’t a unit of local government, with leadership elected by all eligible registered voters in the area they cover.

    2. PACA was given the Solon House about 12 years ago, when one of the last Solon family heirs passed on. It’s a beautiful old house, but it was so run-down when PACA got it that they have been working on restoring it ever since they got it. I think the total is now approaching $500,000.

    3. What has the taxpaying citizens of Champaign County gotten for the $$ spent on the Solon House? Well, I can think of 2 times in the last 10 years that PACA has opened the house for tours, and each time it was billed as a fundraiser for PACA, with the public having to pay $10/person to enter the house and go on the tour. The rest of the time, the Solon House is locked up.

    4. PACA recently announced they will be listing the Solon House for sale, on a website that specializes in historic homes. Is there anything in this particular earmark that will trigger the repayment of this and other public monies spent on this property upon completion of the sale? Or is PACA in line for a big payday?

    5. Which state capital critter submitted this earmark?


  31. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Jun 20, 17 @ 7:42 am:

    Gasp! Member projects in a capital bill. The horror! Rep. McSweeny needs to grow up.


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