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The federal government's announcement Tuesday to purchase the Thomson Correctional Center could do a bit to reduce the state's debt, if lawmakers so choose.
Gov. Pat Quinn said his preference is to use the $165 million made from the sale to pay down Illinois' backlog of bills.
The money will continue to grow too. Officials estimate the purchase will create about 1,100 jobs, which ultimately help the state through income and sales taxes. Annual operation of the prison would generate more than $122 million in operating expenditures, including salaries and $61 million in local business sales, officials estimated.
The value of Thomson has varied. The facility was appraised three times in 2012 and given an average value of $220 million.
The 1,600 cell prison was built in 2001, but their budget problems kept them from opening completely holding less than 200 inmates before it was officially closed to sell in 2010.