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I think people would have preferred to see the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency move downtown, 700 jobs would be a big boost. Be that as it may, the state paid a lot more for the space than others were willing to pay ("Moving to the mall: State of Illinois buys Sears space," Dec. 3).
Ward 5 Ald. Andrew Proctor said he believes the IEPA could have moved into the old Shop 'n Save on North Grand Avenue. The Sears space at the mall, he said, would have been ideal for a Costco, which he noted has been opening stores in other Illinois cities. When was the last time you saw a two-level Costco?
Did any of the city's elected leaders or the various economic development people at the city and county government bother to look at a map of railroad relocation and ask where the IEPA was going to move? Did any of these economic development people make any kind of presentation to move IEPA downtown? None of them did anything, even though all of them receive public money. This was literally right under their noses that the IEPA was moving, for how many years?
Why doesn't the city council do something to preserve what we have and make Springfield more business-friendly to attract new employment, not chase it away, raising the sales and hotel/motel taxes?
WHY IS EPA MOVING?
Why does the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency have to move? The building is one to two blocks from the tracks. I thought all the needed property was bought and leveled already. My former house, along with the entire block facing the tracks, was bought, razed and the road rebuilt for this high-speed rail project. This was at North 11th Street and Ridgely Avenue, a couple of blocks from the IEPA. They didn't take out the houses one to two blocks away.
My question is, why do they have to do this in the first place?
FOLLOW THE MONEY
I recently read an article from The Center Square by Greg Bishop about the revenue the state is generating from pot sales; over $500 million in cannabis has been sold in Illinois in the last 10 months. There was a breakdown as to where the revenue from this is directed, and it stated that 35% of it goes to general state spending instead of being sent to the backlog of the billions of dollars of bills.
I'm curious how that factors into Governor JB Pritzker's budget. I know he's talking about budget cuts, which have been needed for decades. But before he starts taxing us more, I'm wondering if he could better allocate the money that he has and then also identify how any revenue that is supposed to go to general state spending or the backlog of bills can be monitored to make sure that's actually where it's going.
If I remember correctly, the revenue from gambling was supposed to be at least partially allocated for education and our school systems. I don't know if that's where the money went.
Illinois seems to have a long history of coming up with solutions that are never implemented. I am wondering where the oversight is for either of these issues.