Northern Illinois lawmakers are frustrated with Governor Quinn's most recent suggestion last Friday that Downstate Tamms' prison be bought by the feds, because the state has been working for a year to sell the northern Illinois Thomson prison. In a letter to Governor Quinn Friday, Congressman Bobby Schilling and 9 others asked the Thomson prison price be lowered to move the deal along.
That was before the Governor tried to ease the pain of shutting down the Tamms prison by suggesting the feds buy it. For observers, it seems unlikely that the federal government would buy two Illinois prisons, and those working to sell the Thomson prison for over a year don't want to lose the chance to re-stimulate the economy in that prison's locality. But what Governor Quinn is asking may be a little too high, Schilling and the other lawmakers suggested in Friday's letter.
Illinois built the prison for $140 million in 2001, and it has paid $128 million of the cost thus far, according to the governor’s office. An appraisal valued the facility at $220 million, however, and Quinn said Saturday there’s already an agreement on a price at $165 million.
With the state facing financial difficulties, taking less money for the prison than its appraised value — and even less than what the federal government is apparently willing to pay — might draw criticism. Nonetheless, the lawmakers touted the benefits of an open Thomson, saying the annual economic impact would be $202 million.
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