Illinois can't afford to pay its bills in a timely manner or fund its schools as promised. Its credit rating is the worst in the nation thanks to almost $100 billion in unfunded pension liability.
The federal government is furloughing workers and curtailing programs because of sequestration. The federal debt is $16.7 trillion, with $2.63 billion of new debt added each day.
But hey, no worries. After a five-year wait the state has released an $864,000 federal grant -- money the government doesn't have -- to spruce up the Interstate 64 interchange at Illinois 159. Times are still tough but that interchange is going to look super.
State Rep. Jay Hoffman said, "This is going to be something positive for Fairview Heights."
It's also go to be something expensive for taxpayers. It will be the city's responsibility to maintain all those trees, shrubs and grasses once they are planted. That will be an ongoing cost, not a one-time expenditure. And there won't be any "free" money to help with that.