You can tell that election time is approaching. Last gubernatorial election, Chicago got a $55 million anti-crime program that has prompted a federal criminal investigation. This election, East St. Louis gets $2.5 million toward a new swimming pool.
That sounds great for the East St. Louis area youth, but it's troubling for the taxpayers.
The state isn't exactly swimming in money; it can't afford to pay its bills for essential services, so how can it afford a municipal swimming pool? It can't, but Gov. Pat Quinn is much more interested in securing the votes he needs to win re-election in November than in spending responsibly.
That's just the start of the spending. The grant recipient, the East St. Louis Park District, has to come up with another $1 million to finish the project. In addition, there will be the ongoing annual expense of operating and maintaining a pool, something the district struggled to afford with its previous pool.
The politicians don't let those kinds of practical details deter them. It's much more fun to play Santa Claus in August and worry about the bills after they are re-elected.