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Somehow fitting: Taxpayers could be on the hook for $100 million worth of Obama presidential library construction

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By Doug Powers  •  April 21, 2014 09:46 AM

**Written by Doug Powers

The Illinois House is expected to approve a proposal that would attempt to lure Obama’s presidential library to the state by offering $100 million in taxpayer funding to be put towards its construction:

The proposal, pushed by House Speaker Michael Madigan, goes to the full House next.

Madigan said it’s appropriate for Illinois to commit public funds for the library even though the state is grappling with serious financial problems.

“The state of Illinois will spend over $1 billion in construction this year alone, so $100 million is not out of line,” Madigan said after the House Executive Committee threw its support behind the library funding plan in a unanimous vote. β€œIt’s clearly a good investment for the future.”

Illinois isn’t exactly flush with cash:

Illinois currently has the lowest bond rating of any state. Its unfunded pension liabilities are over $100 billion and it has over $6 billion in unpaid bills. While the legislature considers spending $100 million for an Obama library, it is also considering a measure to permanently increase income taxes. Madigan also backed a ballot initiative to institute a “millionaire tax,” although that proposal was ultimately withdrawn.

But Illinois Dems are justifying the proposed taxpayer outlay for Obama’s library, saying that citizens of the state did the same thing in order to construct the library of a lesser president:

While presidential libraries are traditionally funded mostly by private donations, Madigan pointed out that “close to $100 million in state money” was earmarked for the Abraham Lincoln presidential library in Springfield. “So we have precedent for this,” he said.

The Chicago Tribune editorial board is going to cause MSNBC to call them all sorts of names:

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Team Obama raised over $1 billion in 2012, so maybe if they named the library “Third Term” those same donors would cough up more than enough cash for construction.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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