Preppers get ready for budget reality by begging for more


RIGHT THIS WAY: The leaders of Illinois departments and agencies are lining up to tell stories of doom and gloom should a “temporary” income tax of residents and business actually be temporary.

By Benjamin Yount | Illinois Watchdog

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Doomsday preppers are getting busy at the Illinois Capitol.

WHERE AM I? The Postville Courthouse is one of three sites with fewer than 2,000 visitors last year.

The latest seeking shelter is the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, which foretells disaster unless state lawmakers make permanent the state’s 2011 “temporary” income tax increase.

Amy Martin, IHPA’s executive director, told lawmakers if the temporary tax is actually temporary, she’d have to slash her budget to “1986 levels” and close 10 of the state’s historic sites.

Martin doesn’t have a list of which of Illinois’ 56 historic sites would close, but there are plenty.

But here are a few places she can look:

  • The Washburn House in northern Illinois
  • The Postville Courthouse in central Illinois
  • The Carl Sandburg home in west central Illinois.

Why? Because none drew more than 2,000 visitors last year.

Then there are any of the 11 Illinois historic sites that didn’t raise a single dime in donations in 2013. Some of the sites don’t have donation boxes where visitors can drop a buck or two. Others raise cash as part of a broader complex.

MONEY MAKER: The Dana Thomas House in Springfield is the state's top-grossing historic site.

MONEY MAKER: The Dana Thomas House in Springfield is the state’s top-grossing historic site.

But don’t worry, Illinois’ Abraham Lincoln sites are among the most popular — though not most profitable — historic sites in the state.

The state’s historic money-maker is the Dana Thomas Home in the capital city.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library is the all-time historic site located in the state, but that’s not owned by the IHPA.

The IHPA, like just about every state agency under the control of Gov. Pat Quinn, has been part of a parade of doomsday budget presentations at the Capitol. All the agencies say if the state does not raise taxes next year, they will not be able to carry on.

Contact Benjamin Yount at and fin him on Twitter @BenYount.