Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

The Tax-Paid Comforts of Home

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

The Tax-Paid Comforts of Home

Article excerpt

Many Illinois residents have long felt that the less time elected officials spend in the state capital the better off the state is. Now, some candidates for statewide office are questioning the constitutional requirement that top elected officials maintain a residence in Springfield, paid for at taxpayers' expense. The debate is one of the few useful ones to come out of the campaign so far.

The debate centers on a phrase in the state Constitution that requires statewide officers to "maintain a residence at the seat of government during their terms of office." The governor, of course, lives in the Executive Mansion. But other officers rent their own housing, then bill the state.

The latest housing audit showed that those officials billed the state nearly $60,000 for their Springfield residences in the fiscal year that ended last June, with Secretary of State George Ryan topping the list at $22,260 for a three-bedroom duplex. He was followed by the soon-to-be-former Lt. …

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