Dan Caulkins says tax revenue should not pay for Obama Center
Dan Caulkins isn’t surprised by project miscalculations by lawmakers in Springfield.
“Everyone knows that it’s typical to see politicians underestimate the cost of a job while greatly over-promising the reach of it,” Caulkins said. “That’s just the way Springfield operates and always has.”
Caulkins, a Republican running against Democrat Jennifer McMillin in Illinois’ 101st District, argues the latest example of funding woes comes courtesy of the Barack Obama Presidential Center and the $172 million dedicated for its construction as part of the new state budget.
The most recent tabulations put costs at $224 million, roughly $50 million more than what was originally allocated. Some are proposing the additional funding be raised by a special property tax.
“How much is too much for the taxpayer and when are we going to be concerned about them,” Caulkins says. "If people in Chicago want to donate to this project, that’s one thing; but taxpayers should not be obligated to pay for what should be private expenditures like this.”
Caulkins also believes the project will come with other costs.
“I think it will have a terrible effect on the neighborhood, taking out a lot of homes and green space,” he said. “Then you have the way it will change the traffic pattern and how residents are able to navigate the neighborhood. I think they should have a real say in this given how much change it will almost certainly mean for them. People in the neighborhood are asking questions.”