Chicago Residents Served a $224 Million Tax Bill from Obama

The bill imposed on Chicago taxpayers for the conspicuously grotesque Obama Center and Presidential Library has just shot up from $172 million to $224 million. Initially, the project was promised to be built using private funds only. But, willing as ever to break promises, Obama apparently sees nothing wrong with souring any deal he initiates.

Why is it that whether it’s nationalized health care, line drawing in the middle east or not gouging the taxpayer just to build a monument to his dubious legacy, Obama seems to always find a way to make the deal worse?

One is reminded of the famous line from Darth Vader to Lando Calrissian, “I am altering the deal. Pray I don’t alter it further.”

About six months ago, we learned that the Obama Library wasn’t even going to be a library, that is, it would contain no books, just a media center.

Last month, the former president gave a talk in which he heard the concerns of local Chicago residents who feared the project would drive poor renters out of the neighborhood. Obama’s callow reply suggested that there would be more economic activity in the area, that the people there would “have more money,” so higher rents would not be a problem.

Obviously, Obama—like all liberals—has an inability to think on the individual level. It isn’t the current residents of the area who would have more money- it’s the people who replace them after the gentrification of the area.

The components of the plan which the $224 million bill to Chicago taxpayers refers to was discussed in a recent Washington Times article. The funding provisions were written into the new budget for the state of Illinois. Nearly 1000 pages were handed to the General Assembly, just a few hours before it was voted on. Only now has anyone taken the time to read it.

Public pleas from activists and journalists have been made to Obama himself asking him to say no to the public funding package and pay for the construction of the Obama Center himself. After all, he’s the only one who seems to like the aesthetics of the design.

But this is a story that we’ve been hearing time and time again over the past 10 years, since Obama was elected president in 2008. The public has been promised one thing, and been stuck with something entirely different. A federal lawsuit filed against the Obama Library project by the non-profit organization Protect Our Parks, makes a clear case that the public is being sold a bill of goods.

The lawsuit is primarily focused on the fact that parkland was transferred to the Obama Foundation in a way that disregards state law. The Obama Foundation, which follows the Clinton Foundation in both form and style, appears to be just as adept at skirting the law as the organization that inspired it. But, on its face, the lawsuit appears to have a good chance of winning, if the law is carried out faithfully.

Jackson Park, one of Chicago’s oldest and most iconic parks would be demolished in order for the Obama Library to be built. The law stands firmly in defense of this parkland, and the lawsuit makes a clear case that it cannot lawfully be taken for any other purpose. And some of the land is being taken with no compensation. In order to transfer the property, Springfield changed the state’s Museum Act, a law that protects publicly owned parkland locations.

The lawsuit also argues that using taxpayer money for an Obama legacy center violates the First Amendment. The First Amendment not only protects free speech, but it also protects against compelled political speech. The lawsuit alleges that forcing taxpayers to spend their money on a politically motivated project is compelled speech.

There is a clear history of judicial opinions ruling against compelled political speech through the partisan spending of taxpayer funds so the suit is on firm ground.

Even more damning for the project is the fact that the compelled speech component of the funding package was not a part of the original promise. Obama’s personal presidential documents and archives are not destined to find a home at the center, only audio-visual displays and a cordoned route for tours.

As we mentioned, the center was supposed to be a library, and it is still being called that. But in reality, it is now being designed as something much more like a museum dedicated to Obama himself. It is, to quote ZeroHedge, Obamaland.

~ American Liberty Report