Rockford in State Budget

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Even $53 billion isn't enough to cover all of Illinois' needs.

The state budget that Gov. Rod Blagojevich presented last week holds the line on tax increases, but it is silent on what some advocates say are important needs. Employees unions say prisons remain overcrowded and understaffed. The reimbursement for foster parents has not increased for five years, and the legal assistance for the poor has been eliminated at a time when supporters said it needed a huge increase.

Gov. Blagojevich's 2006 budget does include though some unexpected funding for a project in Rockford. The governor's budget has $2 million in it for the Center of Excellence project at the old Barber Colman building. The site would house an education facility for area colleges and universities.

Rockford Mayor Doug Scott says the governor likes the concept. Mayor Scott tells 23 News, “It is quite a lot more than we had anticipated. We know we have $7 million in public improvements down there where it’s clearing out, demolishing buildings, some utility work a little roadway/easement work, so having $2 million is a tremendous jump start.”

The Rockford City Council passed a resolution that will encourage the development of the vacant property that's in front of the old Barber Colman building on South Main Street.