Candidate Doug Jameson calls for private funding to pay for Obama Center
Doug Jameson wants state lawmakers to be practical.
Jameson, a Belleville Republican who is challenging incumbent Jay Hoffman (D-Swansea) in Illinois’ 113th District, doesn’t believe it is practical for taxpayers to pay for the Barack Obama Presidential Center.
“In a state with an unbalanced budget, eroding tax base and crippling debt, I’m firmly of the belief that we have more pressing issues than building a presidential library,” Jameson said. “I think that especially holds true when it comes to our crumbling roads and bridges.”
Initial estimates for the center came in around $172 million. However, those estimates have recently ballooned to $224 million. Some lawmakers are calling for a special property tax to cover the costs.
“Presidential libraries are generally covered through private funds and this one should be too,” said Jameson. “Maybe things are different in this case because Obama’s former chief-of-staff is now mayor of Chicago, and at least half of the legislators involved on the project are from the Cook County area.”
Jameson believes the project will also come with other costs.
“It will mean major life-changes and differences for the people of that community,” he said. “There’s no way it can be any different with the way it will impact housing, green space and traffic patterns.”
Protect Our Parks, Inc., an Illinois-based non-profit, has already filed a federal lawsuit opposing the project.
Jameson urges other residents to take full advantage of their chance to be heard on the issue later this fall.
“Residents and taxpayers can have their say on Nov. 6, when the polls open,” he said. “I am encouraging everyone to go to the polls and cast your vote for the people that have your concerns at heart, and are willing to fight for the things that matter most to you.”