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This one might just break the mold

Thursday, May 24, 2012

* As I’ve often said, gaming expansion is never accomplished without the support of all four leaders and the governor. This time, at this point, the governor is opposed, but legislators are hoping to do it without him

Offering up a direct challenge to a resistant Gov. Pat Quinn, the Illinois House resurrected a huge expansion of legalized gambling Wednesday that includes a land-based casino in Chicago, four more on riverboats - including one in Danville - and allowing ailing horse-racing tracks to add slot machines.

Quinn responded to House approval with ridicule, asserting the measure “continues to have major ethical shortcomings.”

The 69-47 tally was two votes shy of what would be necessary to overcome a Quinn veto — something the Democratic governor promised to do last year with a similar bill. But in a state starved for cash, Rep. Lou Lang, the bill’s sponsor, was confident that tax revenue of at least $300 million a year would change the Democratic governor’s mind.

“I’m hopeful that with the vote total we got today that the governor will decide that economic development, job creation and saving an industry — the horse racing industry — is worth doing,” the Skokie Democrat said.

* That roll call may show some weakness to the naked eye, but there are more votes than the final tally seems to indicate

During the voting, the number of yes votes hit 71 at one point — the number of votes needed to override a veto by the governor — but two legislators changed their “yes” votes to “no” before the official record was taken.

* And

Two lawmakers voted present, and several more legislators could have lame-duck status after the November election, making it easier to vote for more gambling. The measure heads to the Senate, where sponsoring Sen. Terry Link, D-Waukegan, plans to call a vote next week as the Legislature nears a May 31 adjournment date.

The two “Present” votes were Speaker Madigan and Majority Leader Currie. Madigan always votes “Present” on gaming bills, so that wouldn’t matter. Currie has voted for past gaming bills.

* Gov. Pat Quinn’s official statement…

“It’s ironic that on the very day that U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald announced his resignation, the Illinois House would pass a gambling bill that continues to have major ethical shortcomings.

“This new bill falls well short of the ethics standards I proposed in my framework last October. Most importantly, it does not include a ban on campaign contributions as lawmakers in other states have done to keep corruption out of the gambling industry and out of Illinois. Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Louisiana and bordering states like Iowa, Michigan and Indiana have all approved such bans.

“It does not provide the Illinois Gaming Board with sufficient time to make critical licensing and regulatory decisions. This bill also does not provide adequate oversight of the procurement process. It does not ensure clear oversight of the proposed Chicago casino.

“As long as I’m governor, I will not support a gambling bill that falls well short of protecting the people of Illinois. It is clear that this gaming bill still needs significant improvement.

“Finally, Illinois cannot gamble its way out of our fiscal challenges. I urge the members of the Illinois House and Senate to pay close attention to the most pressing issues that we must address by next Thursday, May 31 –pension reform and Medicaid restructuring.”

OK, fine. I get it. He wanted the contribution ban. But he had an opportunity last week to cut a deal on that and he didn’t follow through. So, now, he’s getting it stuck in his eye, so to speak.

Also, and I’m probably only going to say this one more time, but chastising legislators for not focusing on the “real” problems and then flying home to do a TV press pop at a middle school didn’t help the governor’s cause at all. I’ve gotten a ton of pushback from the administration on this issue, but it was obviously a stupid move that had some consequences yesterday. Don’t do it again.

* Related…

* House passes bill allowing Chicago casino — but vote not veto-proof

* Illinois House passes gambling bill with more casinos, slots at racetracks

* House passes gaming bill it previously rejected

* IL House approves gambling expansion bill

* Gambling Package Wins In The House

* Illinois House passes gambling expansion bill

* Illinois House approves casino expansion, slots at horse-racing tracks

* 24 GOP House members defy 2008 IL GOP Platform and support gambling expansion

* Our View: Rockford only few steps away from getting casino

* Illinois House passes gambling expansion bill

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 24, 12 @ 10:11 am:

    –“It does not provide the Illinois Gaming Board with sufficient time to make critical licensing and regulatory decisions.”–

    Given the video poker experience, how would the gaming board define “suffient time?” Is it measured in years, decades, centuries, eons?

  2. - Rich Miller - Thursday, May 24, 12 @ 10:12 am:

    Most likely eons.

  3. - Coach - Thursday, May 24, 12 @ 10:27 am:

    I would go ahead and send SB744 to the governor now that way you will have two opportunities to override the governors veto in the fall one on SB744 (which has been already passed by both the senate and the house)and the second one would be SB1849 as long as it passes the senate today or in the next week. That way it will give the lawmakers two chances to override the governors veto.

  4. - OneMan - Thursday, May 24, 12 @ 10:41 am:

    wordslinger, took the words right out of my mouth…

    Looking forward to hearing from Jaffe how this is going to cause dogs and cats sleeping together…

  5. - Louie - Thursday, May 24, 12 @ 10:50 am:

    =Rep. Lou Lang, the bill’s sponsor, was confident that tax revenue of at least $300 million a year= Rich Miller in his advertising comment states new revenue of $200 million. Which is it?

  6. - Rich Miller - Thursday, May 24, 12 @ 10:53 am:

    ===Rich Miller in his advertising comment===

    That ain’t me. That’s the advertiser. Ask them.

  7. - Team Sleep - Thursday, May 24, 12 @ 12:24 pm:

    A very good friend of mine is a gaming advocate/journalist/blogger/etc. and makes a very salient point: other than the cigarette tax hike, what other types of new revenue has the GA discussed? Gaming - and that’s it.

  8. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, May 24, 12 @ 12:51 pm:

    Without a deal that uses that $300 million to fund member initiatives, I think that Lang’s carrot offers very little appeal.

    Sooner or later, someone is gonna realize $300 million in “new” revenue doesn’t mean $300 million in restored cuts, nor does it mean $300 million in new funding for education, health care or human services.

    Because spending levels all require bipartisan support in the House at least, that $300 million will likely just be erased by ignoring the COFGA revenue projections, or it will be appropriated to pay past due bills (most likely to Medicaid providers, at the same time we’re forcing cuts on them), or both.

  9. - downhereforyears - Thursday, May 24, 12 @ 5:51 pm:

    @ Rich……It was the truth, you have any reason for deleting it?

  10. - Not for Nuttin' - Thursday, May 24, 12 @ 9:06 pm:

    In all seriousness, whether it’s a casino or video poker, Chicago is going to need additional revenue to pay for the parking bill.

  11. - Not for Nuttin' - Thursday, May 24, 12 @ 9:06 pm:

    And “in all seriousness” was in jest for the noobs.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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