Illinois state museums could shutter if budget deal isn't reache - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Illinois state museums could shutter if budget deal isn't reached

The Illinois regular session officially ended May 31, but disagreements between some state legislators and the Governor leaves the state without an official budget going into the second week of June.

Since Illinois lawmakers passed the more than $36-billion budget that's nearly $4-billion short of state revenue, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner's administration set out an action plan to balance the budget.

The Governor's administration has announced an initial $400-million in cuts and actions initially. A part of that decision could shutter all five of Illinois' state museums.

The state operates museums at Rend Lake, Springfield, Dickson Mounds, Lockport, and Chicago. The plan would shut the doors to visitors which could save the state about $4.8-million per year, according to Illinois Department of Natural Resources spokesperson Chris Young.

The state would continue to maintain the museums including historical artifacts and artwork.

The Southern Illinois Arts and Artisan Center in Whittington, Illinois near Rend Lake is one of those museums that could be closed.

Becky Buchanan, a tourist from Nashville, Tennessee has made the art center a stop for years during her yearly visit to St. Louis.

"It's really fine art. Local artists, made in Illinois, made in the USA," Buchanan said.

While Buchanan wasn't able to go inside this trip because she visited on a Sunday when the museum is closed, in the near future tourists traveling through Whittington may not get the chance to go inside at all.

Arnold Prigge, a retired worked from Red Bud, IL sad he hopes lawmakers will make a decision quick.

"But it seems like it's always the culture and the museums that get cut first," Prigge said. "I hope the Governor and the state legislature can get things passed so we can keep these things open."

No exact date has been set when doors to museums will shut but the plan has been set in motion.

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