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|Lawmakers React to Thomson Decision
|Some state lawmakers are still skeptical of the transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees to Illinois.
After an announcement Tuesday that the president has ordered the federal government to acquire Thomson Prison, Illinois Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) says there are still security concerns and questions of exactly how much Illinois will make from the deal.
"How much are we going to get for this prison?" Radogno said. "It cost us $140 million to build it, we still owe $80 million. And if we sell this facility to the federal government, what do we do to replace that facility, which was built because we have overcrowding and unsafe conditions at existing prisons. I think we should get a premium well over $140 million."
Radogno believes some of the proceeds should be used to make improvements at current prisons or to reconstruct or build a new prison. She also believes public hearings should have been held before the federal government indicated its desire. The state has a hearing scheduled for Tuesday (Dec. 22) in Sterling.
"I feel that what's happening right now is that the federal administration is essentially taking advantage of the desperate conditions here in Illinois and trying to solve their political problem on the backs of the Illinois tax payers because we have a fiscal problem."
But State Rep. Mike Boland (D-East Moline), whose district includes Thomson, says it's an economic boost for the community. He says at least 3,000 jobs will be created when the facility is turned over to the federal government.
"It's really gonna be a great deal for the region," Boland said. "When you talk about over 3,000 federal jobs, and they're good middle-income jobs with benefits, you'll probably see another 1,000 jobs in retail and service."
(Illinois Radio Network)
|12 16 09 by Newsroom
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