Grant awards have been at the heart of the controversy over the NRI, with regular news stories detailing questionable and, in some cases, fraudulent activities related to grants handed out under the program.
Although the Governor has publicly tried to put the program behind him, lawmakers point to $20 million in new spending in the current budget that they say could be used to fund a re-branded version of the same failed program. That $20 million was handed off to the Illinois Department of Labor with a vague description to fund a program that sounds almost identical to the NRI.
Critics say a recent study illustrates the cost to taxpayers of politicized programs like the NRI.
Researchers from Indiana University and City University of Hong Kong recently released a study that attempts to put a dollar figure on public corruption. Illinois was among the states studied and the professors said that in the 10 most corrupt states (with Illinois among those 10) taxpayers pay an average “corruption tax” of $1,308 per person.