Down the rabbit hole
Governor Blagojevich unveiled his budget recently amidst much grumbling from both sides of the aisle. It includes a plan to hike already high taxes on cigarettes and tobacco products and to skim funds from various state programs and shift them to education funding.
Last year, Blago promised the area $8.5 million for development and construction of the Western Illinois University riverfront campus at the old Deere & Co. administration building site in Moline, but due to gridlock in Springfield, nothing came through.
Now the governor has announced that he's budgeted $2.5 million for the project, a fraction of the amount much ballyhooed as a coup by local pols.
Though WIU itself got slightly more money than last year, that increase will be devoted to meeting payroll and avoiding staff layoffs. WIU president Al Goldfarb even gave our boys a shout-out in the campus paper, "The University wants especially to express its gratitude to our local legislators, Senators John Sullivan and Denny Jacobs and Representatives Rich Myers, Mike Boland and Patrick Verschoore, for their support of our strategic initiatives," said president Goldfarb. (link requires free registration)
This leaves local orgs such as the City of Moline, the Q.C. Chamber of Commerce, Renew Moline, and others who had put their weight behind this effort feeling a bit bamboozled. All this begs a question oft repeated throughout eons of political history -- What happened to the money?