Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Can Gov. Rauner deliver state funds for the Obama Library?

[VIDEO] So Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times caught up with Gov. Bruce Rauner in Washington, DC with regards to the coming Obama Library in Jackson Park. There's been some excitement and opposition, now where's the money coming from. So basically this is what the governor said:
The Chicago Sun-Times asked Rauner if he would support the state assistance. The Democratic Illinois legislative leaders — House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton — are in favor of the state bankrolling a big chunk of the infrastructure costs.

Rauner said it is an “honor” for the city of Chicago and Illinois to have the Obama Center “and I look forward to working together with the Illinois General Assembly to come up with the resources so we can put in the infrastructure around it to support it.”

“. . . I won’t speculate on the dollars at this point. I’ll say I look forward to working together to develop the infrastructure needed for that center because I think it is going to be a wonderful asset for the people of Illinois, a great tourist draw, a great economic engine.”
On the other hand according to the Tribune, the governor is unsure whether or not the state could contribute funds to this proposed library. This article was published in October.
Rauner said he supports the center and the investment of more money in infrastructure, but said the state faces deep financial constraints even though lawmakers put in place a budget and tax hike over his objections. Rauner contends that spending plan is $1.7 billion out of balance, and has called on lawmakers to help him identity cuts.

"We need to make sure that we have ways to pay for what we invest in," Rauner said. "If we could cut the wasteful spending and the government bureaucracy, I would love to put that money into infrastructure and expanding roads and supporting things that can grow the economy like the Obama library.”

Rauner’s remarks came as he took questions during a stop in Aurora. Democratic Senate President John Cullerton of Chicago said Wednesday that he and House Speaker Michael Madigan brought up using state dollars to help reconfigure roads around the center during one of several recent meetings with Republican leaders.
So recent figures for this project from Sweet's article, $175 from state and federal funds to redo the streets in Jackson Park. And there apparently is opposition to a proposal to close off Cornell Drive in Jackson Park.

However, if Rauner remains governor and continues to remain at odds with a Democratic General Assembly in Springfield - especially Speaker Michael Madigan who's suffering from a scandal of his own - who knows if the state could come up with their own money for the Obama Library.

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