Springfield Journal Register

February 7, 2002

Lawmakers say proposal to cut state project money won't
pass 


By DORI MEINERT
COPLEY NEWS SERVICE 

WASHINGTON - A Bush administration proposal to cut $1.3 billion in funding Congress had earmarked for home-state
projects was declared dead on arrival by Illinois lawmakers this week.

To free up more money for Pell Grants, which help low-income students pay for college, the White House proposed the
reductions from funds already approved by Congress.

Such "recisions" would have to be OK'd by lawmakers, which isn't considered likely.

"I'd be shocked if that ever came to a vote," said Rep. Ray LaHood, R-Peoria, a member of the House Appropriations
Committee. "These are important projects in the district. That money is going to improve programs that are going to impact
people's lives."

LaHood helped obtain $500,000 for Memorial Medical Center and $500,000 for a new science and technology center at
Eureka College.

LaHood and Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, also steered $800,000 for construction of a cancer research center for
Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.

"I think it's going to be difficult," Shimkus said of the administration's prospects.

"I think there's going to be some trimming around the edges. But just like members fight for every dollar for their districts, we're going to fight against any recision for projects that affect our districts," said Shimkus, whose district includes part of Springfield.

However, Shimkus said the threat may be lessened as a result of the Senate's failure to adopt the administration's economic
stimulus package, which contained additional tax cuts that would reduce the amount of government revenue.

Another $300,000 for the Boys and Girls Clubs in Springfield, which will be split with its Peoria counterpart, also could be at
risk.

Among the projects promoted by Rep. Lane Evans, D-Rock Island, and targeted by the administration are $120,000 for Carl
Sandburg College for a dental-hygiene program and $500,000 for a Community Health Care Center in Rock Island for
"medically underserved"citizens.

Also, $100,000 for the Rock Island Council on Addictions in East Moline for a youth health program is on the recision list.

"These are meeting important needs of the community," said Evans spokesman Steve Vetzner.

If Congress were to cut the funding for the local programs to boost the amount available for Pell Grants, "we'd be hurting one
part of our body to help another," Vetzner said.

Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Urbana, won $200,000 for reading programs in Decatur and Kankakee.

"The president has come out time and time again about the importance of reading for kids," said Johnson's press secretary,
Matt Bisbee. 

"This is a dire necessity right now. It's different from a grant for a new playground."