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Republicans Introduce Obama Library Resolution

Updated: Thursday, May 22 2014, 04:30 PM CDT
House Republicans are pushing back against a proposal to spend $100 million of taxpayer money on an Obama presidential library. The lawmakers say the state should try to get the library, but shouldn't pay for it.

The library proposal has been taking heat since it was introduced. In a budget year where program cuts and tax hikes are at the center of the discussion, $100 million is no small change.

A resolution put forward by the assistant Republican leader in the House and other downstate Republicans says that Illinois cannot afford to use public money for the library, and should not do so.

Since the resolution is obviously directly opposed to the plan the speaker has proposed, the sponsors say this is more of a gesture than a move to block it.

"I think we should have a debate on it, because taxpayer funds for a presidential library, regardless of this president or any president, it hasn't been done," Rep. Bill Mitchell (R - Minority Leader) said. "Illinois is broke. We owe $5 billion. Why would we spend taxpayer money? Money that could go to fix roads, sewer systems, water systems, things like that. That doesn't make any sense to me."

This isn't the first bill Republicans have put forward. Sen. Bill Brady also proposed providing a checkoff option on tax returns so residents could choose to help fund the library individually instead of the state paying out $100 million. The likelihood of a checkoff fund raising that much money, though, is slim.

It's also worth nothing that while Madigan's Obama library proposal has cleared a House committee, it has not come up yet for a vote in the full House.

Published reports list Honolulu and New York as other possible sites for an Obama presidential library. The deadline for proposals on the location is June 16. Republicans Introduce Obama Library Resolution

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