A program designed to boost the dwindling Illinois population of the greater prairie chicken has become the source of an election-year row. Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner last week joined others who have complained about the cost of using state planes and money to fly chickens from Kansas to Illinois. The birds are abundant in Kansas but endangered in Illinois. But the state Department of Natural Resources points out that the money for the $519,000 program is a combination of federal and state money, and none of it comes from income taxes. It's all from funds dedicated to wildlife and habitat restoration. The three-year program aims to create a viable population of the birds in Illinois. The 91 birds flown from Kansas more than doubled Illinois' population.
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