*** UPDATE *** I forgot to post the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform’s latest demand….
“The governor claims he wants billions in new infrastructure spending to create jobs and to guard against a bridge collapse as happened in Minneapolis last year,” Canary said. “But after years of headlines about contracts that look more like pay-to-play than legitimate state business, taxpayers have to wonder whether his top concern is bridge safety or building up his campaign treasury.
“If he would sign the bill to discourage pay-to-play and stop soliciting money from people doing business with the state, he would give the public reason to believe those new construction dollars would be spent fairly,” she said. “Legislative leaders should insist HB 824 is signed into law before giving the governor the ability to award billions in new spending for bridges, roads, and other projects.”
* Eric Zorn makes the fatal mistake of assuming that just because there’s a “way” to find money to restore cuts to alcoholism and substance abuse programs, the “will” to do so will automatically follow.
But he does have this at the end of his post…
[Speaker Madigan] wants the Senate to reconvene and pass a different, highly specific and highly targeted “funds sweep” bill that would allow for restoration of many of the social-service cuts.
Senate President Emil Jones has shown no inclination to reconvene his chamber, but Brown and many others close to the situation say they have heard rumblings that Gov. Rod Blagojevich plans to call both chambers into special session during the Illinois State Fair, Aug. 8 -17.
Gubernatorial spokesman Lucio Guerrero responded to these grumblings with a a note that said, “The issue (of a special session) may come up at the leaders’ meeting, but nothing has been decided. The first priority is getting all the leaders - at least the three that show up - to agree on a compromise and then the decision would be made about the next step.”
* The leaders will meet this morning at 11 o’clock. We’ll live-blog it here. The Sun-Times has more…
Gov. Blagojevich is prepared to revise or outright eliminate plans for a Chicago casino in a bid to jump-start his stalled statewide construction program, a top aide said Tuesday.
The governor also is open to reducing the size of the $34 billion capital plan and rethinking how to pay for it in an effort to gain the support of Mayor Daley and House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago). […]
Now, the governor is considering lowering the buy-in figure, giving the mayor broader control over how school construction money is spent and even eliminating the city casino entirely if that’s what the mayor wants, Blagojevich’s spokesman said.
“There are a whole host of things that are being looked at on gaming to make it more palatable,” Blagojevich press secretary Lucio Guerrero said.
“The governor thinks [a capital deal] is too important to let die. He’s looking for ways to compromise,” Guerrero said.
There’s more to this, but non-subscribers will have to wait and see what’s announced after the meeting. We’ll know more about 12:30 or so.
* But relying on gaming expansion outside Chicago is an iffy proposition at best…
A drop in the number of customers at Harrahs Metropolis Casino riverboat is translating into not only in a decline in casino revenues but also a decline in the amount of money going into the coffers of the city of Metropolis.
According to the Illinois Gaming Board, adjusted gross receipts at the casino were about $10.3 million in June, down from the $14.7 million the casino pulled in during the same month a year ago. […]
Officials say the downturn in casino attendance can be traced back to January, when the state of Illinois instituted restrictions on smoking in public buildings.
That’s not the only casino experiencing trouble.
* The Sun-Times thinks that Speaker Madigan ought to show up to today’s leaders meeting…
What are we paying him for? Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, arguably the most powerful Democrat in the state, takes home $95,000 a year but refuses to sit down with the governor.
We say that’s what we’re paying Madigan for.
* But in a Sunday editorial entitled “The tale of ‘Governor Goofy’”, the Tribune offered up some reasons why nobody should take the governor seriously …
Blagojevich remains the governor who cannot govern, the thespian who tries to rule via press-conference theatrics: State troopers to the right of me, National Guardsmen to the left of me, I will triumph.
Blagojevich’s behavior is what it is. He cannot, though, control how he’s judged. He cannot escape from the nicknames people give him or from their anger about his ineptitude when it comes to bridging rivalries and fashioning solutions to his state’s crying needs.
* Blagojevich, top lawmakers to meet again in Chicago
* Blago urges lawmakers to OK capital bill
* Sincere or Sensationalizing: A year after a Minnesota bridge collapse sent people tumbling to their deaths, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich reflects on the situation and uses it to try to prod approval of his $34 billion gambling-expansion-for-road-construction plan.
* Bridge repairs hinge on capital funding compromise
* The DCEO bone is connected to the EPA bone…
* SJ-R Opinion: Governor’s cuts decimate DNR
* Some lawmakers showing resistance to IDOT jobs move before hearing
* Commission to gather testimony on IDOT move today
* Traffic safety employees speak their minds — big
* Officials: No plans to use results of prison study
* State Capitol Notebook: Pleading for cuts to be reversed
* Prosecutors, Defense Object To Governor’s Budget Cuts
* Davis Mansion shakes off budget woes, gears up for car show