Batinick: "State is in no position to subsidize' Obama Center
Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) is curt and to the point in expressing his views on the widening debate over the Obama Center being publicly funded by taxpayers.
“The state is in no position to subsidize such a project,” he told the Will County Gazette. “All excess funds should be spent on debt reduction or tax relief.”
Batinick’s belief is almost certainly only made stronger by news that the $172 million originally allocated for the project in the state budget won’t be enough to cover all the cost. And with estimates now at least $50 million south of that, talk is lawmakers are promoting a special property tax to account for the difference.
While Batinick, running for re-election in November’s general election, said he doesn’t know enough about the Jackson Park area to directly surmise how the new facility might impact the community, others have pointed to the displacement of residents, effected green-space and altered traffic patterns as some of their biggest concerns. The not-for-profit Protect Our Parks has already filed a federal lawsuit opposing the project.
Overall, Batinck said he is opposed to the idea of using taxpayer money for such projects and thinks anything counter to that is a “very bad idea.”
First elected in 2014, Batinick has made the issues of fiscal responsibility and pension reform platforms of his re-election campaign.
He previously told the Will County Gazette he sees too much “sweeping” in the new $38.5 billion budget.
“We’ve got to get that under control and fast,” he said. “It does nothing for the welfare of the state. I’ve counted about $800 million in this budget that already falls in the sweeping category.”
Sweeping is known as the practice of taking funds in the budget that are earmarked for one purpose and using them for another.