Thursday, July 25, 2013

EXTRA: A present for everybody! Or, Christmas comes to Ill. 5 months early

To Gov. Pat Quinn, his big accomplishment was in giving approval to a measure that will allow Illinois government to move forward in developing the long-discussed new airport near rural Peotone.

The Statehouse? Or Santa's workshop?
Which is true enough.

BUT I’M SURE there are others who are going to want to ignore the airport process.

They’re going to view it as the day the state kicked in some money for construction of a new arena near the McCormick Place convention center – the arena that is meant to be the new distant-from-campus home of the DePaul Blue Demons basketball programs.

Others will want to view Thursdays’ action as the permitting of fertilizer plants in Tuscola (not far from Champaign) to be eligible for job-creation incentives. And some will prefer to see this as the bill that helps develop the Mississippi River’s Port of East St. Louis.

For the bill that Quinn signed into law during morning ceremonies at Governors State University was the ultimate in “Christmas tree” bills – so-named by Springpatch denizens because they provide a little something for everybody.

IT WAS A bill that got its final approval from the General Assembly on the final day of the legislative session back in May. Back when everybody else was preoccupied by the passage of a concealed carry measure – and the failure of the Illinois House to do anything with legitimizing gay marriage.

It was a bill that most people managed to miss in the last-minute swath of legislation that did get voted on!

Christmas comes 5 months early
And it is a bill that will now have the potential to irritate so many different interests – from the people who hate the idea of a new Chicago-area airport being built on farmland to those who think it’s a dumpy idea to build a new basketball arena on the Sout’ Side when the school that would play there is up north.

Although at least this particular bill has issues that all sort of relate to construction or economic development – even if you believe that development is a mere fantasy.

IT’S NOWHERE NEAR as much of a mish-mash as a measure the Legislature approved in the mid-1990s to alter the state’s Leaking Underground Storage Tank fund AND implement measures for registering people convicted of sex crimes.

Legislators argued that both measures related to “public safety.” Although the tacky jokes about sex offenders and the “LUST Fund” being combined into one bill did nothing except create tacky puns that still make me groan some two decades later!


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