Illinois Budget Crisis Could Dim Holiday Lights on Capitol


Trying to save money or raise money?  That’s the question when it comes to the lights on top of the Capitol this holiday season. The Secretary of State announced this week they can’t afford to string up the lights, but one woman is trying to save the holidays.

“I think we got a good chance, I mean, but give a little bit to the lights and give some money to your local homeless shelter and food pantry.”

Kristina Rasmussen says she has always been the giving type and says one thing she always looks forward to during the holiday season are the bright lights over the Capitol dome. But, the Secretary of State’s Office decided to not string up lights this year to save the state some money.

“To me the Capital lights are part of the holiday cheer and if we can come together as a community and fight for that, I think it’s a great outcome.”

Many are responding. A GoFundMe site has been up and running just 24 hours and donations are coming in.

“Where one-seventh of the way there. In a little bit more and I think we can get to what the Secretary of State said we needed.”

She needs $7,300; the site has raised almost $1,000.

“So last thing we want to do is add to their bill. Even though it might seem small, $7,300 when they owe millions. We don’t want to do that if it was something that was nonessential.”

Rasmussen says she understands the state is in crisis but she says it’s the giving season that brings out the best in people.

“I think it has a more important story to tell that when there’s a budget crisis and hard choices are being made about what gets funded that doesn’t mean activities need to come to a halt.”

The weather plays a factor in all of this too. The lights are usually up by this time due to November’s uncertain conditions. That said, workers won’t put up any lights until the full amount is there, so donations need to be in soon for the holiday cheer to go up.

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