Sen. Durbin Wants Illinois Taxpayers to Help Fund Obama's Presidential Library

By Eric Scheiner | May 20, 2014 | 1:22 PM EDT

Sen. Dick Durbin speaks on the Senate floor 7/6/2011.

-Sen. Dick Durbin (D- Ill.) is urging the State of Illinois to put in seed money for the creation of a Obama Presidential library in Chicago.

"It's going to have a long-term positive economic impact and this is where it ought to be," Durbin told reporters last week. "I believe an investment in this library by the State of Illinois will pay back in terms of visitors to our state, more business, more jobs and people paying taxes."

Durbin did not go as far a endorsing a bill in the Illinois legislature that calls for up to $100 million in state seed money to create the Obama Presidential library.

"Whether $100 million is the right dollar amount, I don't know," he said during a May 12 visit to Loyola University.

According to ABC7 Chicago, if the funding bill does pass, Illinois would be the first state to bid for a presidential library with public money.

A Capitol Fax poll shows likely voters in the state opposing the measure, with a 67 percent disapproval rate for using state funds to bid on the library.

Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel have been vocal in their support of Illinois offering millions of dollars for the project.

Usually, presidential libraries are built with private funds and eventually handed over to the National Archives for regular operation.

Obama's presidential library foundation is considering sites other than Chicago. Other possibilities are Honolulu, where Obama was born, and New York City, where he went to college.

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Eric Scheiner
Eric Scheiner
Eric is the Senior Video Producer for