So says Republican state Rep. Ed Sullivan.
Either one wants to spend the taxpayer dollars — money the state doesn't
have — or one is "wrong" and, thus, a tea party extremist.
"(The House speaker's spokesman) is trying to polarize the political culture
down in Springfield," Sullivan told Illinois Watchdog. "We had the wrong ...
procedure on a vote on a somewhat controversial agenda item of the presidential
library. But this has taken a turn."
Sullivan is referring to Steve Brown, spokesman for Democrat Rep. Mike
Madigan, who, in part, blamed partisanship for opposition to the Obama
|SHE WANTS IT: Shirley Madigan, chairman of the Illinois Arts
Council Agency and wife of Illinois House Speaker Michael
Madigan appeared before an Illinois House committee
meeting April 17 in Chicago regarding a plan to devote $100
million in state funds to help bring President Barack Obama's
presidential museum and library to the Windy City. Lawmakers
will vote one more time on the issue.
Should Illinois taxpayers fund an Obama presidential library?
"The tea party gene has blossomed in full bloom in Springfield in 2014,"
Brown said. "You attach Obama's name to anything, and this rabid group jumps
Tossing out the tea party tag is a smear tactic, said Sullivan, who says
he's not a tea party member and has a primary challenge from a conservative
Sullivan said Republicans have been clear as to why they can't support
spending $100 million on the proposed library.
"We have wants and we have needs," Sullivan said.
[to top of second column]
GOP lawmakers won't vote to spend taxpayer dollars on projects that should
be paid for privately, he said.
"We'd love to have a presidential library. I have publicly said
I'd be the first to contribute to it in a private foundation. But we
Second, Sullivan and Republicans in Springfield are upset
Democrats used a procedural maneuver to secure a unanimous committee
vote for the library money.
Brown has said a new House committee will vote again — April 30 —
but the Legislature may not take a final vote on the library this
"We see this as an element, maybe even a signature element, of a
(statewide construction) plan," Brown said. "Does this necessarily
move this session? No. But that depends on if a (construction plan) moves
Illinois has a history of spending taxpayer dollars on presidential
Former Gov. George Ryan helped steer about $100 million toward the
construction of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum,
But modern presidents are supposed to use private money to build
their libraries. Every president since Herbert Hoover has had a
library built with private donations, then administered by the
Brown said the precedent has been set, and there are other states —
Hawaii and New York — vying for an Obama library.
But Sullivan said there is more to this fight than legacy or
"I think they fear (Bruce) Rauner," Sullivan said of the
aforementioned GOP candidate for governor, who is gaining support
with his populist pledge to end business as usual in Springfield.
"They don't have (the millionaires' tax) wedge issue for class warfare. So
they're going down this alley, and it's unfortunate."
article courtesy of
Contact Benjamin Yount at
Ben@IllinoisWatchdog.org and find
him on Twitter: @BenYount.
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