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$365K In Taxpayer Dollars To Teach People How To Fish?

CHICAGO (CBS) -- In his winter budget address, Gov. Pat Quinn pledged that "all unnecessary state spending will be eliminated."

Now it appears the state is preparing once again, to spend a third of a million dollars – taxpayer dollars – to teach people how to fish.

CBS 2's Mike Parker reports.

With the Quinn administration facing billions of dollars in unpaid bills, the Governor is now under pressure to start cutting deeply into the newly passed state budget.

Now there is a call to start with what's known as the Illinois Urban Fishing program. Every year, thousands of people, mostly in Chicago are taught how to cast, how to bait a hook and how to haul in a fish.

Program director Brenda McKinney says, "I definitely think the program makes an impact on children's lives."

But a new report by the taxpayer watchdog group, the Illinois Policy Institute, calls on Quinn to put an end to it.

"I don't think teaching people how to fish in urban areas or rural areas is a core government service," says CEO John Tillman. And he complains that in this year's budget, "they've increased it from $351,000 to $365,000."

McKinney said that while she is not worried the program will be cut, "There are no guarantees in anything."

The Illinois Policy Institute also wants to stop pouring state money, a million dollars worth into the Illinois State Fair and the DuQuoin, both traditional money losers. The institute says, "privatize them and make a profit, like Texas."

The report also wants Quinn to cut back on the money spent promoting tourism in Illinois. The new budget calls for spending $24 million on that.

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