Even in a tough budget year, Illinois lawmakers can find ways to give special help to a few organizations with the right connections.
The budget includes a handful of grants that take money away from general services and divert it to specific groups.
There's $400,000 for a neighborhood development group on Chicago's South Side and $1.1 million to bus children to religious schools. An inactive commission on Latino families gets $750,000.
Details on the grants are hard to come by. The budget itself doesn't provide information, and the groups getting the money aren't saying much.
But it's no secret that the grants were included to help Democrats pass a budget.
An Illinois House appropriations chairman, Rep. Fred Crespo, says the grants were approved as Democrats scrambled to pick up votes.