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More on the casino intrigue

Friday, Aug 10, 2007

* The Daily Herald throws more light on what happened last night with the Chicago casino bill, which was never called for a vote…

The long, strange, increasingly expensive quest for a state budget took yet another odd political twist Thursday when Chicago officials reportedly began lobbying against a casino for the city.

“The host city is against the bill,” House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Chicago Democrat, told reporters late Thursday. The comments immediately reverberated through the Capitol. […]

“I have been lobbying against it, too. Right now, I think it’s killed,” said state Sen. Terry Link, a Waukegan Democrat who wants a casino for that city added to any deal. “I want a more comprehensive solution. If you’re going to do this, let’s do it the correct way.”

Translation of Link’s comments: I want more boats and I will withhold votes from the bill until I get ‘em.

* More

Speaker Michael Madigan… questioned why senators were focusing on a Chicago casino proposal. Madigan said Mayor Richard Daley’s administration is advising lawmakers that the city is against the casino plan.

“So I would simply ask, ‘Why are they doing this?, ” Madigan said, shortly after adjourning the House for the night.

The mayor’s office eventually declared in committee that they had “no position” on the bill’s merits. The city reportedly went neutral after the Senate Dems and the governor’s office threatened to kill off a plan to boost funding for its 911 calling system.

* As I told subscribers this morning, the lack of Senate votes for a casino bill probably had a lot to do with Jones pulling the rug out from under the capital program, which was funded by the casino. That probably had a lot more to do with things than this chain of events last night…

By two votes, the Senate rejected a bid to authorize $9 billion in borrowing for state construction after Republicans complained that Blagojevich’s administration could not be counted upon to make good on its promises to fund projects.

“We don’t have any trust in the governor for good reason,” said Sen. Dale Risinger (R-Peoria).

In unusually harsh terms, Jones lashed out at his Republican counterpart, Senate Minority Leader Frank Watson (R-Greenville), for failing to help pass a construction plan for roads, bridges and schools. Thirty-six votes were needed for passage, but only 34 voted in favor of the borrowing deal. Twenty-two voted present.

“Sen. Watson,” Jones bellowed, “I am through meeting. My patience has worn thin because there’s not one sincere bone in your body. You’re not interested in doing anything about the roads. You aren’t interested in doing anything about the bridges, and you don’t give a damn about whether our schools across the state of Illinois have a capital bill.” […]

After the Senate adjourned about 12:30 a.m., Jones pronounced a state capital program dead. “The Republicans just killed it,” he said.

Or they’re a convenient scapegoat. We’ll see today how things shake out.

* More budget-related stories, compiled by Paul…

* DuPage closer to taxing smokers

* How the state got to this point in the budget impasse

* Hynes apparently wants to be ordered to cut paychecks

* Breaks continue for property owners

* Parade goes on without Blagojevich

* State Fair set to open today despite lack of state budget

* Proposed budget boosts school funding

* Budget looks to have no cash for Cook Co.

* Proposed budget boosts school funding

* Budget looks to have no cash for Cook Co.

* Budget has some health advocates worried

* Sun-Times Editorial: It is time to gamble on Chicago casino

* Editorial: Boost funding to stabilize mass transit

* Opinion: Illinois needs roads and bridge program now

* Illinois Senate passes wind farm measure

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - anon - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 9:22 am:

    “The Republicans just killed it,” - -With a super majority in the Senate, had he had the support of his fellow dems this should have still passed without the support of the Republicans. Were all the dems on the floor last night?

  2. - Squideshi - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 9:28 am:

    “Wind farm tax legislation unanimously passed by the Illinois Senate on Thursday would level turbine assessments in all 102 of the state’s counties, potentially raising annual property tax bills for some farms while slashing them for others.”

    Provisional kudos to the Senate–only certain locations within Illinois actually have the wind resources to make a wind farm viable; so what needs to happen now is that someone needs to look at those particular areas to determine if this bill has a realistic net effect of raising or lowering taxes on wind farms. Maps of wind resources in Illinois can be located here. Note that, while not shown on these maps, Lake Michigan is a PRIME wind resource; so an offshore wind farm should be a priority for the state.

  3. - fed up - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 9:29 am:

    A casino in chicago is a good idea but putting one in waukegan and the south suburbs would be a good idea and I still believe slot and poker machines at Ohare and midway would be great for revenue. Adding positions at existing casinos does make sense to help them compete against the boats in surronding states and give them incentives to add amenities.

  4. - MOON - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 9:34 am:

    Throughout this budget fiasco many people thought the Speaker was being ” painted into a corner ” by the Gov. and other leaders in the senate and house. It’s time to realize ‘the Speaker resides in a circular world ” . He is so far capable and smarter than everybody else involved. If only he were the Gov., this state would be in much better shape. Never under estimate this man’s ability. Without a doubt he is the best!

  5. - Leigh - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 9:35 am:

    Nobody is going to blame the Republicans for this ridiculous fiasco. The Democrats hold every state office and have majorities in the house and senate. I understand it is easy to lose ones temper at 12:30 at night after a very long day, but perhaps Jones should look in a mirror and yell?

  6. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 9:36 am:

    Any casino deal is built out of such a house of cards, you can’t blame any one Joker. Link is right, the way the stars are aligned, its difficult to pass a “small” gambling bill because so many folks have a self-interest in killing it until their piece of the puzzle is included.

    Frankly, I’m surprised that President Jones was so quick to abandon a casino for the South Suburbs. But Terry Link isn’t going to give up on a boat for Waukegan, and he’s got Sen. Bond and Sen. Garrett backing him up.

    Mayor Daley is not going to give up on Chicago running the casino in the City, either. That means ZERO Republican votes.

    Rod Blagojevich isn’t going to sign anything these days that doesn’t fund “Illinois Covered”.

    Once you put Waukegan in the bill, its tough to say “No” to the South Suburbs, Rosemont (who we don’t hear much about since the Mayor passed) and Rockford.

    Of course, if you’re going to build FIVE new casinos, you’ve got to add gaming positions at existing casinos and throw some money at horseracing.

    Suddenly, you’ve got a bill that gives the Chicago area more gambling positions than Las Vegas, folks start asking themselves “Do we really want to be the Sin City of the Midwest?”, and the whole thing collapses.

    Then, as if a gambling bill really needed any help collapsing, there’s Madigan.

    If I was Mike Madigan and I had a bill headed my way that gave Emil Jones his top priorities (education funding and a boat), Mayor Daley his top priority (a Chicago-owned casino), and Rod Blagojevich his top priority (funding for “Illinois Covered”), but nothing really for Madigan, I’d have to ask myself why I should give up all of these chits for nothing in return on a piece of legislation that I’m not all that thrilled about.

  7. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 9:43 am:

    Well said, MOON, or to quote Alfred E. Neuman:

    “What, me worry?”

  8. - Captain America - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 10:09 am:

    Well,atleast, we have an operating budget(maybe),so there is absolutely no need for a State shutdown unless Governor Strangelove somehow figures he can trump the massive majorities supporting the operating budget in both houses. Should the Governor continue with his recent course of bizarre political strategy and tactica, he’s going to encounter a firestorm of protest, political contempt, and editorial denunciation. If I were him, I’d skip Governor’s Day at the State Fair if we don’t have an operating budget by Wednesday.

    I’m assuming that the that mass transit, capital and casino/gambling issues will be addressed somehow in a September special session.Keep fignting the good fight, Julie Hamos!

    Mayor Daley’s resistance to the proposed Illinois casino, based in Chicago, certainly can be no surprise.

    And,oh, what a shock, no ethics legislation has emerged from the Senate.What happened Senator Schoenberg?

    Comptroller Dan Hynes continues to impress by saying and doing alll the right things, including his posture of “welcoming a lawsuit” that might compel him to legally issue paychecks on a timely basis. Despite his principled and courageous remarks about the budget impasse, it’s obvious he does not want to stiff State employees. It’s a classic illustration of good politics being good government.

  9. - Siyotanka - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 10:30 am:

    Illinois Senate passes wind farm measure. My my how ironic that phrase seems. They are a wind farm aren’t they?

  10. - Jaded - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 10:36 am:

    Intrigue is a great word. You know if you go on to write a book about what happened in Springfield from January to August (and beyond) this year, they would make you put it in the fiction section because nobody would believe you.

  11. - ChampaignDweller - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 11:09 am:

    I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at Emil Jones questioning someone else’s sincerity.

  12. - Anon - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 12:29 pm:

    Casino, The Sun Times Editorial starts by saying that “Relying on people throwing away their hard-earned dollars in slot machines is not the best way to finance the state’s essential needs, but if gambling dollars can pay for better schools, modernize the CTA and fix our bridges, then we’ll be the first to pull the lever.” I think it would be better for the state if that hard earned money was spent on real tangible Illinois products and service’s which would mean additional state revenue and a better economy, to pay for those same public programs.

    I don’t think all that was hard earned money or money that comes directly from the people that earned it. I would guess the money was earned by a taxpayer then passed along in a some program to a poor person who wanted to win it big. I would suggest doing an anonymous study and compare the names of people entering casinos to those receiving public assistance, this of course will never happen but may give us an idea of how much of our hard earned money is really wasted, gambling and gambling’s negative impact on our state budget and those families.

  13. - Truthful James - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 12:51 pm:

    Best place for a wind farm or a hot air electric generating station would be…in Springfield.

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