Governor Pushes for State Fair Grounds Foundation

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Springfield - Governor Bruce Rauner wants to create a foundation for the Illinois State Fair and fair grounds to help with repairs and upkeep without adding a burden to taxpayers.

If you visit the state fair grounds you'll see holes in the road, holes in the buildings, and when you look around at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, you'll see its age setting in.

"There's $180M of deferred maintenance that we need to do.  We've got 20 roofs and you can see one of them right here.  In addition, electrical upgrades, grandstand repairs which you can see from here.  The foundation is a win for the taxpayers of Illinois," said Raymond Poe, Illinois Department of Agriculture director.

Governor Rauner said that by creating a foundation for donors of the state fair, it'll help with needed repairs to continue highlighting ag in Illinois.

"We believe that a foundation, and independent, private foundation of funded donations from the business community is a good option for us to pursue to support these facilities.  Agriculture is the backbone of our economy," the governor added.

The governor said that the state fair and the state fair grounds are essential for agriculture.  He also said agriculture is essential for Illinois.  However, the governor zeroed out money for agricultural education in the state.  Students are concerned that if ag is so important, why is there no money to educate those who will take over the industry one day?

"If we were to cut his line item, at my school individually, we would lose a lot of of our grants.  That would lose funding for our computer labs, for our mechanic labs.  Basically our education in our ag program would definitely take a step down from what it is right now," said Kade Hill, FFA State President.

Lawmakers will still have to finalize the remaining 10% of the Fiscal Year 2016 budget, as well as prepare for the FY-2017 budget when they return April 4th.

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