Illinois Republican spending plan includes millions of dollars for suburban projects

Illinois Republican spending plan includes millions of dollars for suburban projects

Affluent communities would receive millions in grants under a Republican spending plan.

On June 15, Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, filed Senate Bill 2216, a 458-page list of capital projects, which is essentially a list of pork barrel-style appropriations worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

For example, Pleasant Dale Park District of Burr Ridge, Ill., which has a median household income of more than $115,000, would receive $289,000 toward “general infrastructure.”

According to descriptions on the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity website, these programs are primarily intended to help low-to-middle-income citizens and small towns with relatively scarce resources. A closer look at the appropriations bill, however, reveals that large, higher-income communities also receive hefty sums for their projects. This money is on top of the Local Government Distributive Fund dollars the state doles out to municipalities.

Here are some highlights:

  • $200,000 for Mount Prospect to get a generator
  • $225,000 to Deerfield for “general infrastructure”
  • $150,000 to Glenview for “general infrastructure”
  • $150,000 to La Grange “for signal change at 47th and East Avenue”
  • $300,000 to La Grange for “all costs associated with infrastructure improvements”
  • $450,000 to Oswego Park District for “all costs associated with land purchase”
  • $325,000 to St. Charles for several capital infrastructure investments, land purchases, and development of a new community park
  • $100,000 to the Geneva Park District for capital park upgrades and land purchases
  • $250,000 to Elmhurst for “streetscaping along Spring Road”
  • $300,000 to Buffalo Grove for resurfacing a parking lot and preventing streambank erosion.

Some municipalities made several appearances in the bill.

  • Palos Park
    • $50,000 for an HVAC replacement in the Kaptur Administrative Center
    • $140,000 for renovations to its recreation center
    • $166,000 for construction and maintenance of railway quiet zones
    • $150,000 for a new traffic light at Creek Road and Route 45
    • $85,000 for renovations to the McCord House (an art gallery)
    • $25,000 for infrastructure improvements.
  • Cicero
    • $200,000 for capital improvements
    • $50,000 for capital improvements to the public works facility.
    • $1,733,539 for capital improvements.
  • Belleville
    • $500,000 for “costs associated with infrastructure improvements”
    • $1,000,000 for “general infrastructure”
    • $75,000 for “general infrastructure improvements.”

While some of the towns, such as Cicero and Belleville, have been struggling economically, many of the towns receiving grants have median household incomes nearing or over $100,000. Total money appropriated to local capital projects reaches nearly $170 million.

Brady filed this appropriations bill the same day Gov. Bruce Rauner called for a special legislative session in an attempt to pass a budget before Illinois begins its third fiscal year without one July 1. Both parties’ budget proposals include multibillion-dollar tax hikes without structural spending reform. But tax hikes only add to the burden driving people out of Illinois. The Republicans’ budget plan would drop Illinois to 28th on the Tax Foundation’s “State Business Tax Climate Index.” Illinois needs reform, not tax hikes.

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