* The Illinois Policy Institute’s Austin Berg writing in the Decatur Herald & Review…
The 2011 tax hikes passed on a straight party-line vote, with Democrat majorities in both chambers and a Democrat in the governor’s seat.
This time, 15 House Republicans rolled over for Madigan, allowing him to protect vulnerable Democrats. A lone Republican cast a “yes” vote on Madigan’s tax hike in the Senate, Dale Righter of Mattoon. Righter’s was the deciding vote that sent the tax hike to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s desk. He was also the deciding vote to override the governor’s veto.
Analysis of the House’s last-minute amendment to the budget revealed Righter was showered with $4.8 million in earmarks for his district.
Madigan wins again.
* From Dan Proft’s East Central Reporter newspaper…
State Sen. Dale Righter (R-Mattoon) made a trade.
He’d cast the decisive vote and give the Chicago Democrats what they wanted– large individual and business income tax hikes and a $700 million bailout for Chicago’s bankrupt public schools– if they would just agree to send a few more state dollars to his district.
And so it was.
Page 508 of House Speaker Michael Madigan’s 638-page budget lays out the $4,757,100 that Eastern Illinois University (EIU) in Charleston will receive “for remodeling of the HVAC in the Life Science Building and Coleman Hall.”
EIU will also get $59,282 “for upgrading the electrical distribution system” and and $10,790 “for renovating and expanding the (EIU) Fine Arts Center.”
All told, Righter received a little less than $5 million for EIU. And his vote will result in $5 billion more in tax dollars sent to Springfield from voters in his district and across the rest of Illinois.
* From the university’s website…
This project was originally appropriated in FY 2010 but is not yet funded. This request is to recognize the inflation needs for the project from the original request date.
The HVAC systems in the Life Science building (1963), the Life Science Annex building (1964), the Coleman Hall East building (1965) and the Coleman Hall West building (1968) are original equipment and are failing to provide adequate levels of comfort in seasonal service. Air handling units that fail to deliver acceptable indoor air quality compromise the normal delivery of education to our students. In addition, poor temperature control and air delivery are energy inefficient. Also, the building heating and chilled water distribution systems have experienced numerous leaks due to internal and external corrosion and thinning of pipe wall thickness. The deterioration has made the piping systems virtually impossible to repair due to insufficient pipe material remaining to thread. During the past several leak events, faculty offices had to be evacuated and important academic work interrupted. In the event of longer - term system outages, research occurring in the Life Sciences complex could be compromised. The building infrastructure requires an entire mechanical upgrade. [Emphasis added.]
Those HVAC systems are almost as old as I am.