List of state pork released

Staff reports

Illinois’ state budget for the current fiscal year is loaded with hundreds of millions of dollars in "wasteful spending," two organizations said in releasing the 2008 Illinois Piglet Book on Wednesday.

"Constantly, we are told we are in a crisis," said Greg Blankenship, director of the Illinois Policy Institute, which issued the report along with Citizens Against Government Waste.

Yet at the same time, state government somehow manages to find money for pork-barrel projects, Blankenship said at a State Capitol news conference. State officials should fund true priorities, such as a capital program, before they set aside money for other types of items, such as $550,000 for the conservation of pheasants, he added.

The report identified $686 million in wasteful spending, singling out such expenditures as:

--$1 million for the Illinois film office in Chicago.

--$40,000 for the Springfield Figure Skating Club.

--$35,000 for the Prairie Aviation Museum for a display gallery in Bloomington.

--$156,000 to refurnish cabins at the Touch of Nature Environmental Center at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.