Arts spending should not be part of Pritzker's state capital funding plan, Rep. Morrison argues
Republican state Rep. Tom Morrison (Palatine) is adamant that the $60 million allocated to arts-related projects has no business in a state capital funding plan.
“I think those projects should be locally funded by the residents of those areas,” Morrison told the North Cook News. “Anytime the legislature tells Illinois residents they have to pay more, the residents are also losing control over how those monies are spent.”
The $60 million earmarked for various theaters and opera houses across the state is just a small fraction of the $45 billion set aside for the state’s entire capital spending plan, but no matter what the amount, Morrison said it sends the wrong message.
“I think people will be upset,” he said. “I remember when I started paying attention to state politics, there was a capital plan in 1999 where there were thousands of dollars allocated to a statute of comedian Jack Benny. I happen to like Jack Benny, but it’s not appropriate to force Illinois residents to pay more for a statue of Jack Benny. Jack Benny was from Waukegan. If the people of Waukegan want to honor a favorite son, they are more than welcome to raise the money to do that but it’s not appropriate to make people in Chicago or Carbondale or Springfield or Peoria pay for that project of local interest.”
The capital spending plan marks the first for the cash-strapped state in more than a decade, with the Chicago Tribune reporting that at least $10 million of the funding will go toward line-item grants, where the recipient of the monies has already been designated.
The remaining $50 million is slated to be dispersed as part of a capital projects program where the recipients have yet to be determined and the decision-making will be overseen by the Illinois Arts Council Illinois where Shirley Madigan, wife of Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, chairs the board of directors.