Thursday, April 22, 2004

The Illinois House Republicans call on Gov. Blago to
help protect open space... Have I entered bizaro world?

"The House Republicans today urged Governor Rod Blagojevich to reconsider his proposal to take a 'holiday' from funding crucial open space preservation programs in Illinois.

"In recent years, Illinois has ranked 48th out of 50 states in the amount of open space available for outdoor recreation and what we have left is disappearing fast," said State Representative David Winters (R-Shirland). "The Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development Program (OSLAD) was created to help us preserve environmentally sensitive areas and recreational lands for future generations. It would be irresponsible to completely abandon funding, even temporarily, for this important purpose."

-- It helps local governments, it doesn't cover all of the costs and at a $21 million it is not a budget buster.

The OSLAD program is a state-financed grant program through the Real Estate Transfer Tax that provides up to 50% funding assistance to eligible units of governments for the purpose of acquiring and/or developing lands for public outdoor recreation purposes (public parks and open space). These are not funds generated through property taxes.

Zeroing out this funding for the OSLAD program diverts funding to the state's General Revenue Fund allowing the governor to earmark this dollars for any project or program he wishes. "

-- I am sure there are lots of projects north of I-80 that require state funding.

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