* After having praised the governor in an earlier post today about the proposed Discovery Partners Institute on the city’s near South Side, I should probably return to the usual problems he has, particularly with Speaker Madigan…
Last week, Rauner said he planned to use proceeds from the sale of the Thompson Center to help finance the institute. Rauner has said unloading the 1.2 million-square-foot building would fetch $300 million, though the state would have to pay around $60 million off the top to buy out the leases of the current tenants.
Rauner also said that though he was seeking some public funding for the initial stages of the work, over time he expected the institute to be primarily funded through private dollars.
Steve Brown, spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan, said Tuesday that legislative leaders were in talks about the institute but denied there had been any such accord, “in part because there was sort of a lack of detail about exactly how the state funds might be utilized.” Brown also said the Thompson Center profits are incorporated into this year’s state budget, comprising a large chunk of new revenues.
“The money has been accounted for in the current state budget, and there is no agreement, verbal or otherwise, to support state funding for this institute,” Brown said.
That pool of money isn’t exactly earmarked for the state budget either. The bill allowing the sale of the Thompson Center has been hung up in political wrangling and has yet to be sent to the governor’s desk.
“There’s no way to say that from Madigan’s point of view whether we’re on board or not on board because we don’t know what we’re getting on board for,” Brown said of the potential for the state to have to pitch in for the center.
*** UPDATE *** From Steve Brown in comments…
[ *** End Of Update *** ]
When called by the Tribune, I was told the governor said he had a verbal agreement from the legislative leaders to shift the proceeds from the JRTC sale to this project. I advised the reporter the JRTC funds were committed to the budget and there was no agreement by the Speaker in no small part because there were few details provided to the leaders.
Tribbies robbed readers of these facts.
Seems all hands need more details before there can be an agreement.
* And there’s this…
State Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, said he had heard about the project last week and on Friday called Rauner, who told him that components of the project will help downstate cities such as Champaign-Urbana, Peoria and Rockford.
But he said he still hasn’t heard many details.
“I’m going to reserve judgment until I see what it is,” Rose said.