State Republicans propose new funding method for Obama library

May 1, 2014

Republicans say they've found another way to fundraise for a future Barack Obama presidential library, one that doesn't involve tax money. This comes a day after Democrats advanced a plan to use state funds to entice the president to put his library in Chicago. 

In a party-line committee vote, Democrats pushed through a plan to pledge $100 million for the construction of President Barack Obama's future library and museum, should he choose to locate it in Illinois. Hawaii and New York are also in the running.

Republicans cried foul when the plan was initially approved at a hearing in Chicago, where their votes were counted even though no Republican was present. Since then, Senator Karen McConnaughay says Republicans have been made to look like they don't want to pay for a Democratic president's library.

"It's important to make the distinction. It does not mean because we don't want to pay for it with tax dollars, that does not mean that we don't want the presidential library here in Illinois."

So Senate Republicans are proposing an optional tax check-off to donate to a presidential library fund. They say they're optimistic the $100 million can be raised through voluntary donations on next year's taxes.

The most successful of these funds, however, only collected $136,000 last year.