February 15, 2006

WIU project doesn't make Governor Blagojevich's budget address

The eyes and ears of the many players involved in the effort to bring state funding for the WIU riverfront campus project in Moline were riveted on Governor Rod Blagojevich's budget address today.

The State Board of Higher Education had recently included the project in it's list of recommendations it sent to the Governor for consideration. (You may remember this as only the latest time Sen. Jacobs jumped for headlines by callling this "enormous news" and giving the impression it was a done deal.)

Since then, those hoping the project is funded have been waiting on pins and needles to see if the Governor would actually mention the project in his budget address, thus indicating that it was indeed a priority to him.

They were disappointed. The WIU project was nowhere in the Governor's address. Though this by no means indicates the project is dead, it nevertheless isn't an encouraging sign.

But the lobbying will continue and we can all continue to hope that the initial funding might be included in the capital budget, IF the lege is able to pass one, which is far from a given.

If the Republicans don't go along and decide they'd rather not give the Gov a lot of goodies he can then use in his re-election campaign, then it's war.

If that scenario comes to pass, it will mean that the project will have little chance of making it into the budget without Republican support, and while that's not impossible, again, they may be less than anxious to do anything which will give the Governor or Dem politicians the opportunity to crow about in the run up to the general elections.

The budget includes funds to partially open the Thomson prison with 75 guards and 200 prisoners and opening a 200-bed unit for treating methamphetamine users at Southwestern Illinois Correctional Center in East St. Louis.

Summary pieces on the Governor's proposed budget in the Trib and Sun-Times.

Blago's state website has streaming video and audio as well as a power point presentation on his budget plans. It's interesting stuff, though of course it's from the Gov's perspective.

Here, from the Governor's press release, is the list of priorities for the budget:
  • Investing $100 million in stem cell research over five years;
  • Creating the Prairie State DNA Institute;
  • A plan to eliminate the nursing shortage;
  • A new program to reduce K-3 class sizes;
  • Veterans Care: a health care program to cover uninsured veterans;
  • New police officers;
  • New tax credits to promote development in Illinois cities bordering major rivers and to expand the film industry in Illinois;
  • Reducing the time it takes to process applications for state licenses from 4 to 19 weeks to one to four weeks;
  • Increased funding for higher education;
  • $400 million in new funding for K-12 education;
  • Creating a one stop service center for senior citizens;
  • Combining state agency administrative functions to improve efficiency and save money;
  • Strengthening payments into the pension systems by dedicating the proceeds from the sale of the 10th casino license to pensions;
  • Creating new prison facilities to deal specifically with the problem of addiction to methampathemine; and
  • Providing a $1,000 tax credit to students (freshmen and sophomores) with a B average attending college in Illinois.


At 2/15/2006 4:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What some of us have heard out in WIU-QC riverfront campus land is that the Governor will indeed introduce the actual budget bill someone in the next month that will include the $13.8 million to build the first phase of the campus. That commitment has apparently been made to QC legislators like Boland, Verschoore and Jacobs.

But I suggest we all remain vigilant, we all keep making our voices heard.

At 2/15/2006 6:42 PM, Blogger highxlr8r said...

Is Thompson a facility that can be used or converted to serve as one of the Governor's proposed Meth facilities?

If it's a possibility, it should be raised and lobbied for.

At 2/15/2006 6:51 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

I caught that too, which is one reason I noted the facility near St. Louis.

The time to lobby for this is gone now. If it was going to happen, it would have happened before the budget priorities were announced.

The Governor's office has already determined that the Meth treatment facility is going somewhere else.

This apparently was something which locals were asleep at the switch on, or for whatever reason, the state was determined to locate it somewhere other than Thomson.

But it does seem like a natural fit and a logical way to go when you have so much available space at Thomson.

At 2/15/2006 6:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is great news for the QC. The Thomson prison will be opened in September. Millions of dollars for area road improvements. And WIU has gotten the 2.4 million with the Governor comming in the QC next week to explain the WIU campus timeline. Great job Sen. Mike Jacobs, Reps Pat Vershoore, and Moke Boland. What a great team for the Illinois QC.

At 2/15/2006 6:55 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Oh lord, not another "This is great news.....Great job Sen. Mike Jacobs, Reps Pat Vershoore, and Mike Boland. What a great team. for the Illinois QC." post. Arrghh.

Anything like that in the future won't be posted. Find a less phoney and repetitious way to say it or don't say it at all.

Also, looks like your lockstep impulse to spout this bit of boilerplate got out ahead of the story.

While I'm sure we'll remember to thank the above for the funding being lost this year, I'm not so sure it's great news for the Q.C.s.

At 2/15/2006 8:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why are you so against encouraging our Legislative team. Why do you only want to print doom and gloom. I for one am happy that Thomson is opening. Something Sen. Todd Seiben in Geneseo couldn't do for us in Thomson. This may not be big news in the cities but it is to us in Thomson.

At 2/16/2006 5:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Inside Dope said...
Oh lord, not another "This is great news.....Great job Sen. Mike Jacobs, Reps Pat Vershoore, and Mike Boland. What a great team. for the Illinois QC." post. Arrghh.


At 2/16/2006 8:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll bet POB has got his hands full trying to spin this one.

The people in this area do have memories that are longer than 1 week. Trying to suggest that Mikey was successful in getting funding is an insult. He promised a "done deal" around 15 Million. Don't bother wasting your time trying to distract us with other issues such as a 10% opening at Thomson.

I'm sick of this dynasty. It's been around for decades, and our area continues to decline. We lost our identity when the tractors stopped coming off the line, and nothing has come in to replace it. Unless we want to be known as the pork plant capitol of the world!

At 2/16/2006 10:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could this be the straw that breaks the dynasty camel's back?

At 2/16/2006 5:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't believe Mike jacobs has promiseed 15 Million dollars for WIU. The only thing I remember seeing is him promissing 2.4million dollars. The dope doesn't remember this promise either. He said from my memory is that the Gov. told him to not sweat it, it was a done deal.

At 2/16/2006 8:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What kind of deal did the Guv get for increasing funds for the film industry? Are we going to see Rod and his plastic hair featured soon??

At 2/17/2006 8:34 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Look at the projects that DID make it into the budget proposal ahead of the WIU funding.

Makes things look even worse.

Maybe they should have pitched the WIU campus as a film studio instead.


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