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State Capitol Can't Afford Christmas Lights Because Of Budget Impasse

By Kate Shepherd in News on Nov 4, 2015 8:26PM

Photo credit: Ann Hilton Fisher

The State Capitol won't be feeling the festive spirit over the holidays. Due to the months-long budget impasse, there won't be Christmas lights on the Capitol's dome.

Stringing hundreds of lights on the dome used to be a Springfield tradition for Secretary of State Jesse White's staff, according to the State Journal-Register. But White's office said the decision will save the state $7,300.

"While the lights add color to the Capitol landscape and are a nice tradition, the fact of the matter is the lights are nonessential and the Secretary of State's office is cutting back wherever possible to save money," White spokesman Henry Haupt said in a statement. "Resources need to be maintained to continue providing customer service and essential services. We look forward to the return of the lights next holiday season."

White's office has not yet made a decision about putting holiday decorations, including its giant Christmas tree and menorah, inside the Capitol, according to the Tribune.

The lights aren't the first thing to fall victim to the budget crisis. Only state lottery winners under $600 can collect their winnings. The electricity might have to be shut off in the Capitol eventually: White's office owes nearly $3 million to Springfield's municipal utility company.