We hear a lot about how Illinois' financial failings are hurting schools, but cities and counties are feeling the pinch, also.
The State Board of Elections recently notified election authorities that it only has enough money to pay 66 percent of the cost of election judges used in last November's election, and no money to help with future elections. That leaves counties and other boards to pick up the tab.
Gov. Pat Quinn's plan to keep funding the medical unit of the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation includes borrowing $6.6 million from a tax fund. One local government leader said that's money intended for local governments, and that he doubts the state will ever pay it back.
But while the state doesn't have money to help with basics like election judges, it has millions of federal dollars to pass along to communities for feel-good extras like a bike trail in Belleville and a beautification project in downtown Collinsville.
The local communities get the money with strings attached -- they can only use it for a specific project, and they have to provide a local match of tens of thousands of dollars. That's money that is needed to make up for things the state used to pay for, but no one wants to let that federal money get away.
Of course all this money, federal, state or local, comes from you and me, after each group steals its slice to cover overhead or mismanagement fees.