A former Republican candidate for governor is proposing an alternative to using public funds to pay for the Obama presidential library. State Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) is sponsoring a bill that would allow taxpayers to put part of their state income tax refund towards construction of the library. Brady says Republican opposition to the plan to appropriate $100 million for its construction is not about opposing the Obama administration.
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“We in Illinois have respect for the office, respect for the president, respect for the history, and realize it can be an economic benefit to this state, and we wholeheartedly embrace it,” Brady said. “This is a way we can do so in a win-win environment.” Brady doesn’t believe public funds have been used for the libraries of other living ex-presidents.
House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) has defended his plan by pointing to the public funding of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, but since that was built 140 years after Lincoln’s death, Brady doesn’t think that’s a fair comparison.