Illinois is so broke that it can't keep its funding promises to schoolchildren. It is threatening draconian cuts if a temporary income tax increase isn't made permanent. Yet amazingly Democratic leaders have decided it's OK to spend $100 million they don't have to lure the Barack Obama presidential library to Chicago. Senate President John Cullerton said he's ready for the state to spend whatever it takes on tax incentives to beat out Hawaii and New York, the other contenders.
Seriously? Obama needs taxpayer dollars to decide to locate his library in the state where he spent most of his political career? Even if Illinois could afford it, it's not OK to spend tax dollars on this. Let Hawaii or New York have the library.
It's bad enough that federal taxpayers have to help support these monuments to self-grandeur -- $75 million annually for 13 libraries. But private donors, not the taxpayers, have paid for the construction. Obama is perfectly capable of raising the construction money on his own, no taxpayer help needed.
A spokesman for the Barack Obama Foundation said it didn't ask for state help -- but shamefully, the spokesman didn't shut the door on the idea, either. Let's hope the public outrage over this proposal takes the money off the table.