Today the full Illinois Senate and a majority of the Illinois house have voiced their support for $100 million in new funding to protect open space as part of a capital spending plan.
“Senators on both sides of the aisle, from all parts of Illinois, agree that investing in protected land for the future is a very smart use of public funds,” said State Senator Jeff Schoenberg, (D-Evanston). “If we don’t include open space protection as part of the next capital spending plan, many valuable acres will either be lost to development forever, or become more expensive to taxpayers as land values increase over time.” Schoenberg is the sponsor of an identical resolution, Senate Joint Resolution 52, in the Senate, which today was adopted by the full Senate.
“Protecting parks and natural areas for future generations is a critical function of state government, and in recent years we have not had the resources to protect the special places of our state from development,” said State Representative Harry Osterman (D-Chicago), the sponsor of House Joint Resolution 55, which calls for $100 million annually in new conservation spending. “Just as we need to shore up our transportation systems and provide quality schools, we have to protect places for recreation, relaxation and wildlife.” HJR 55 has been co-sponsored by 70 members, a majority of the Illinois House, and was approved unanimously by the House State Government Committee on Wednesday.