UPDATE: Friday, Illinois Review will offer an update on this story. Evidently, the grants the state reps announced were from a different source than the one Rep. Ives was referring to in her press release. The timing of their announcements and her challenge was coincidental. We will attempt to iron out the confusing details tomorrow.
WHEATON – Earlier this week, three Illinois House Republicans distributed announcements of state grants being awarded to projects in their districts. The grants included $153,000 to McHenry County College, $621,000 to Harper Community College and $709,000 to College of DuPage to update the facilities' infrastructures.
The same day State Representative Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, criticized millions of dollars in legislative initiative “pork” spending reportedly contained in the FY 19 state budget.
"The Governor’s Office of Management and Budget acknowledged in August that the new state budget is unbalanced by a staggering $1.2 Billion. Now it is coming to light that untold millions of dollars in spending was hidden in the new state budget for legislators in both parties to designate for pork projects in their districts," Ives said.
"I refuse to participate in this initiative and am calling on my colleagues, Democrat and Republican, to do likewise. Illinois taxpayers deserve to know where every dollar in the budget is being spent. Not one penny should be spent on pork."
Three of Ives' Republican House associates have no intention of accepting her challenge to reject their portions of the $11.3 million in funds released by the Governor's office on Management and Budget for community colleges throughout the state.
“The College of DuPage is a world-class institution of higher learning that serves more than 28,000 students each semester,” said State Rep. Peter Breen (R-Lombard). “Keeping the campus buildings and infrastructure in a state of good repair is costly, and I am pleased to see the State of Illinois making an investment in our local community college.”
State Rep. Steve Reick of Woodstock said the money is being used to replace roof-top units and duct work.
“The RTUs are over 27 years old and are operating beyond their life cycle,” said Reick. “They require more and more maintenance to keep operational, have lost some functionality and are inefficient for today’s energy standards. In addition, the duct work is over 40 years old and has failed in several locations.”
State Rep. Tom Morrison of Palatine said the funds would be used to replace existing steam and condensate piping, valves and supports that are failing. “A failure of this system would result in the campus being closed until repairs are completed,” said Morrison. “With cold weather right around the corner, it is imperative that the repairs take place without delay.”
The FY 19 state budget was approved by the Illinois House of Representatives on May 31 by a vote of 97-18. Representative Ives was among those who voted against the budget.