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Illinois State Parks Funding Plan Fails

Rich Egger

A plan to raise funding for the agency that oversees state parks and conservation of wildlife  failed to win approval in the Illinois Senate during the waning hours of the 2012 session.

That agency -- the Department of Natural Resources -- has seen its budget cut in recent years. The DNR said state parks are deteriorating due to the funding decrease and its need for more employees.

Lawmakers tried to come to its aid with a proposal that  would help fund the agency through a package of 18 fee hikes, including a $2 fee on license plates.  Visitors to beaches would pay a fee and out-of-state visitors to state sites would also have to pay.

It took two tries, but on the final day of the legislative session the House approved the  package.

There was no such luck in the Senate, though, where Republicans argued Illinois needs to stop taxing its residents.

“How  much more do you think that citizens can bear in this state, anyway?  It's time to stop this nonsense of raising fees on everything that comes along,” said Republican Senator John O. Jones

It's unclear what  the measure's failure will mean for state parks.  

Thanks to Illinois Public Radio

Rich is TSPR's News Director.