Illinois county fair officials say they still don’t have nearly $1.5 million promised to them in the current state budget for fair operations.
The state legislature had initially pledged more than $10 million to help county fair officials maintain fairgrounds and buildings. But Governor Bruce Rauner's administration held back some of that money in an effort to cut costs.
Margaret Vaughn directs the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs. She said the governor’s decision sent the wrong message to the state’s rural communities.
"People forget up north that Illinois is primarily an agricultural state, and since the beginning of the last century the State of Illinois has recognized the importance of this, to keep these fairs going, ” Vaughn said.
The Rauner administration says holding back some of the funding was a "tough decision to make." Rauner has argued the budget lawmakers approved over his veto spends more than it takes in.