Lawmakers propose fairgrounds foundation

With the state in financial dire straits, a bipartisan group of lawmakers are pushing for a measure to create a foundation to generate private donations for the state’s fairgrounds.

Republican Representative Tim Butler says the state’s red ink continues to grow and having the private sector invest in the fairgrounds makes sense.

“We’re upwards of $6 billion in debt as we could be this year. I think it is only responsible for us to look as to how we can partner with the private groups to come in and raise money.”

Meanwhile, Butler says there’s millions of dollars in deferred maintenance at the state’s fairgrounds, something Illinois’ agribusiness may want to assist with as a way to make the property better and possibly bring new programs.

“We do some good things at the fairground to enhance the facility and maybe see some terrific program that we don’t see there today.”

Democratic Representative Jerry Costello said in a statement he looks forward to working with both sides to create the foundation while also working toward bipartisan solutions to strengthen the state’s fiscal situation, but said private partnerships should maintain the quote “integrity of prevailing wage.”

Illinois law requires work done on state-owned property to follow local prevailing wage rates regardless if it’s funded wholly or in part by public dollars.

Illinois News Network

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