2. $1,057,500: DuQuoinState Fair andIllinois State Fairentertainment andaward costs
Department of Agriculture (HB124,General Revenue Fund)
Fairs may be fun, but they’re not highup on the public funding priority list – especially when the state is billions of dollarsbehind in paying service providers. The budget appropriates $652,100 for entertainment and other expenses from theDuQuoin State Fair, and $405,400 for awards and premiums at the Illinois State Fair. The DuQuoin State Fair and the Illinois State Fair have a long record of incurring expenditures thatoutweigh their revenues. Between scal years 2001 and 2009, the two fairs lost a combined total thatexceeded $41.8 million. While turning a prot may not be the purpose of the state fairs, it is unacceptablefor the state fairs to lose millions of dollars each year.States such as South Dakota, Ohio, Colorado and Kansas have reduced their fair spending to deal withbudget shortages, while Michigan recently shut down its government-run state fair. Meanwhile, Texas hasshown that a privately-run state fair that operates without government subsidy can be successful.
3. $4,214,400: Grants to Art Organizations and Individuals
Illinois Arts Council (HB124, General Revenue Fund)
When the state is strapped for cash – and when taxpayers and core services aresuffering – certain items do not make the state’s top-priority list. Grants to artorganizations and individual artists may be nice, but they’re not necessary.Funding for the arts and related programsbelongs in the private sector, which hasdemonstrated its ability and inclination to supportcultural endeavors. Chicago, in particular, isknown for its world-class entertainment, whichdraws talent from around the globe. Strangely, thestate is still providing money to many of the city’smost prestigious organizations, despite their starpower and expansive donor base. For example,in 2009 the Illinois Arts Council gave $60,000 ingrants to the Art Institute of Chicago, which hada fund balance of $1 billion on June 30, 2008.