CHICAGO — While we have many things to be thankful for this week, the culture of wasteful and reckless spending in Illinois is not one of them. The Illinois Policy Institute, in partnership with Citizens Against Government Waste, released “The 2012 Illinois Piglet Book” Nov. 20. Piglet 2012 highlights nearly 200 examples of wasteful government spending in Illinois, totaling more than $354 million. Each item highlights the decisions of politicians who have lost sight of the core services they were put in place to provide. “Every dollar of wasteful spending we highlight in this book will be justified by Illinois politicians,” said John Tillman, CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute. “Keep that in mind, because at the same time they are choosing to spend on these wasteful programs, poor and disadvantaged Medicaid patients are being turned away from receiving health care services because the state can't pay its bills. Wasteful spending is immoral and must stop.” Here are just a few of the nearly 200 examples from across Illinois. They range from the ridiculous to the downright confusing: ·Chicago - $124,720 to the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority of Navy Pier to host the Lego Kid Fest Chicago at McCormick Place. ·Chicago - $75,000 to Chicago Football Classic Inc. for a three-day event that included the Chicago Football Classic game at Soldier Field. ·Chicago - $39,700 to Chicago Boating Publications Inc. for an advertisement promoting Chicago's North Point Marina. ·Rock County paid $20,489 to Swine-time Pig Racing. ·In Williamson County $200,000 went to Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour Inc. for the development of “eco-friendly customized zip lines.” ·The Illinois Department of Corrections racked up a cable television bill of $2,261,009 between July 2010 and June 2012. ·Springfield Park District spent $9,941 for bobblehead toys. ·The village of Schaumburg used $2 million in TIF funds to create a vacant lot. ·In Metro East, $2,374,868 in TIF funds was used for the construction of a 500-seat 3D-capable cinema. ·In the Quad Cities area, $241,283 in TIF money went to Jumer's Casino and Hotel. “The infuriating waste highlighted by the Piglet 2012 is undoubtedly just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to taxpayer dollars being wasted by Illinois' state and local governments,” said Tom Schatz, President of CAGW. “In a state where the government has been declared 'essentially insolvent' by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, it is imperative that all of the frivolous spending highlighted be cut immediately.” Many Illinois families are struggling from last year's tax hike and the state's chronic unemployment, yet Illinois politicians keep doing more of the same – squandering taxpayers' hard-earned money. Illinoisans will be better off when its politicians finally end the undermining and corrosive culture of wasteful, out-of-control spending.