Legislative leaders flying high

It costs $21 for a lawmaker to take the train between Chicago and Springfield, or about $65 for them to drive.

But it costs taxpayers $4,060 when lawmakers choose to fly a six-seat executive airplane between the two cities.

Despite the enormous cost difference, the presiding officers of both the Illinois House and Senate are choosing to fly in the taxpayer-funded executive planes.

The practice has been going on for decades, but as the state struggles to pay its bills some are wondering if it is something Illinois can afford.

“Would getting rid of these planes solve the state’s budget problems? No. But it is of enormous symbolic value. The leaders seem unwilling to sacrifice,” said state Rep. Bill Mitchell, R-Forsyth, who has introduced legislation to eliminate most of the state’s fleet of executive aircraft.  Scott Reeder tells the story at the Illinois News Network.