I kid you not.
|TAXPAYERS GET THE BIRD: Illinois is flying to Kansas to
round up prairie chickens and bring them back to the Land of
State aircraft are flying to Kansas and transporting prairie chickens back
to the Land of Lincoln.
And at a time state lawmakers are looking at raising the state income tax,
Illinois state employees have been hiking across Kansas trapping these
Talk about fowl fiscal deeds.
State pilots have flown between Illinois and Kansas not once, not twice but
14 times this year taking prairie chickens to downstate Jasper and Marion
“Illinois is the Prairie State and prairie chickens are an endangered
species here, so we thought it would be a good idea to bring them back,”
said Scott Simpson, site manager for Prairie Ridge State Natural Area in
The feds are chipping in $337,000 toward the program and the state will pay
$117,000. Some of the cost to state government may be offset by private
fundraising done by the Audubon Society, Simpson said.
That puts the total cost of the program at $455,000 for the next three
That’s hardly chicken scratch.
At a time when both our federal and state government are running massive
deficits, is this really the best use of taxpayer money?
So far this year, the state has relocated 50 cocks and 41 hens. That puts
the cost of the program at $1,166 per bird.
[to top of second column]
And the expenditure already has
“This is an egregious abuse of tax
dollars,” said state Rep. Bill Mitchell, R-Forsyth. “I don’t care if
the money is coming from a grant or not. It doesn’t seem like a
smart way to do business.”
Mitchell long has been a budget hawk, calling for the elimination of
most of the state air fleet, which he said is mostly used to ferry
lawmakers and other bigwigs between Chicago and Springfield. In
2013, the state spent $7.3 million operating its aircraft.
It would be much cheaper for lawmakers and others to drive or take a
It ought to be pointed out that this is all happening at a time that
basic state services are being cut, state pensions are underfunded
by more than $100 billion and Illinois has at least $6.7 billion in
unpaid bills. And now lawmakers are backpedaling on their promise to
let the “temporary” 67 percent income tax hike expire.
In other words, our fiscal chickens are coming home to roost.
Despite this, taxpayers are spending nearly half a million dollars
to fly prairie chickens here.
That’s nothing to crow about.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources spokesman did not
return calls seeking comment.
But it appears the state is spending the money and the taxpayers are
getting the bird.
article courtesy of
Click here to respond to the editor about this