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Ill. urinals send funds down the drain

May 19, 2007 at 7:56 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ill., May 19 (UPI) -- A major restoration of the Illinois House and Senate chambers in the state capital of Springfield raised eyebrows when it was revealed urinals cost $950 each.

Several state lawmakers said they are at a loss to explain to their constituents why they were paying $405 for customized doorknobs, $38,582 for a clock or nearly $500,000 for chandeliers, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Saturday.

"My constituents are going to be appalled when they read those numbers," said Sen. Christine Radogno, R-Lemont. "This is a prime example of why the public just doesn't want a tax increase. They don't believe their money is being spent wisely. It's tough to disagree."

Yet those behind the restoration of the facilities to their original 1800s style have defended the $20.2 million spent so far.

"We're looking at the restoration of a landmark space that serves as sort of the office for 200 or 300 people on a daily basis when the Legislature is in session and a visitors' destination for tens of thousands," Steve Brown, a spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan, told the newspaper.

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