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Illinois Construction Jobs Funded by Taxpayers

Posted on May 26, 2009

A new program could help create Illinois construction jobs, but at a cost to taxpayers.

Last week the Senate approved a $29 billion public works program that would help rebuild crumbling roads and transit systems, in turn creating much-needed jobs. Officials are hoping the House will approve the bill soon. However, the program will be paid for by increasing taxes and legalizing video gambling throughout the state.

According to an article by the Chicago Tribune, the plan would pay $148 million in school construction money that has been owed for years to 24 school districts throughout Illinois, including $29.7 million to Chicago schools. Legislative leaders and Gov. Pat Quinn are negotiating another $1.5 billion in public works projects.

The billions of dollars will be paid for by Illinois citizens. The Senate voted 47-12 on whether or not to increase taxes and fees and expand gambling. They voted 59-0 when it came to where the money would be spent and authorizing the bonds.

For instance, driver’s licenses will cost $20 more, the price of liquor will increase by 80 cents, license plates will cost $79 beginning July 1 and eventually increase to $99. Even the cost of personal items like shampoo and candy will slightly increase.

On top of that, those with a passion for gambling can engage in video poker at nearly any bar or restaurant. The agreement would allow businesses to have five poker, blackjack or video slot machines at a proceed tax of $375 million per year. A proposition also could allow the state to sell lotto tickets over the Internet, although that move would require approval from the United States Department of Justice.

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