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House Speaker Madigan pushes $100 million bid for Obama library

SPRINGFIELD — House Speaker Michael Madigan thinks Illinois taxpayers should provide $100 million in seed money to boost Chicago’s chances of landing the library and museum for President Barack Obama.

Madigan and state Rep. Monique Davis, D-Chicago, introduced legislation Tuesday that would authorize that spending, with an aide to the speaker telling the Chicago Sun-Times that funding likely would have to come from a new state capital bill that could emerge in Springfield this spring.

"He thinks it’s certainly appropriate this complex be in Illinois. He’s happy to put together a funding propsal to be a part of that," Madigan spokesman Steve Brown said. "You’d need a new funding source, probably a new bond authorization. People are talking about that.

"How quickly all that comes together is an unknown. The governor has talked about it. The people in the road and bridge business have been talking about it. There are certainly unmet needs with other state facilities," Brown said.

Asked when such a plan could emerge, Brown said, "There’s a need; the sooner the better. But you have to find a funding source, probably with bipartisan cooperation. But we can always be hopeful." Davis said the push makes sense now since planning for the facility is in the early stages.

"We’re just being proactive in making sure there’s some dollars available to start the process of getting that library here in the state of Illinois," Davis told the Chicago Sun-Times. "This, obviously, will show people we’re interested," she said of the legislation, House Bill 6010.

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