SPRINGFIELD - The state of Illinois has a big grocery list, buying everything from big blocks of frozen fish to pallets of canned vegetables in order to feed inmates at state prisons, residents of developmental centers and aging veterans living in state nursing homes.
Through April 2012, the state comptroller reported taxpayers had paid more than $65 million for various food and food supply products.
On any given day, state purchasers enter their needs on a special website operated by the Illinois Department of Central Management Services, calling out for bids on everything from veggie burger mix to dry milk powder.
But not all of the food fuels residents of state-run institutions. Some of it goes straight into the mouths of state lawmakers and their staffs.
According to the comptroller’s office, the General Assembly paid $20,015 for coffee supplies. Along with coffee, the money paid for tea, sugar, creamer, artificial sweeteners and drink-related supplies.
That amounted to about $113 in coffee-related spending for each of the 177 members of the House and Senate. Broken down further, that’s about $9.42 per month, per member, for java.