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Subsidy bills left undone

Wednesday, Dec 4, 2013

* AP

Illinois lawmakers have adjourned without approving bills proposing tax incentives for Archer Daniels Midland Company, chemical distributor Univar and newly-merged OfficeMax and Office Depot.

The Senate OK’d two bills Tuesday. One would give ADM up to $30 million in tax breaks. The other calls for roughly $58 million in incentives for Univar and OfficeMax.

However, the House adjourned after a pension vote.

* Speaker Madigan was asked yesterday to respond to ADM’s declaration that it needed a decision by the end of the year…

Q: On the ADM bill – you didn’t call that bill.
Madigan: “It’s still under consideration.”

Q: They’re saying they want an answer by the end of the year.
Madigan: “OK, well that’s nice.”


* Meanwhile

Also Tuesday, State lawmakers have adjourned without approving legislation supporters say would give the horse racing industry a needed boost.

Arlington International Racecourse officials said in a Tuesday statement that they’re disappointed.

Legislation allowing online betting on horse racing expires at January’s end. Race dates would be severely cut if legislators don’t renew the betting law and give Illinois’ racing board access to money wagering generates.

The plan renews the betting law for three years, calls for a surcharge on wagers and provides off-track betting licenses at parks.

A House committee approved legislation Monday. But it didn’t come up on the floor Tuesday as lawmakers approved major pension overhaul.

* More

The legislature will have just one day to prove that it does because the current legislation allowing advanced deposit wagering is scheduled to elapse at midnight on Jan. 31, 2014, and the legislature is not scheduled to reconvene again until a one-day session on Jan. 29.

In the past, however, the legislature has set aside that day solely for the annual state of the State address and not convened to pass legislation.

If there is no action taken on the 29th, a doomsday scenario outlined by the Illinois Racing Board could kick in, one that would cut Arlington’s 2014 meet nearly in half and decimate the schedules of other thoroughbred and harness tracks around the state.

While it promises to be a nail-biting finish, Petrillo said Arlington and the racing industry as a whole will spend the next two months doing everything it can to improve the odds of getting the legislation passed.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - walkinfool - Wednesday, Dec 4, 13 @ 11:16 am:

    Madman was busy with another issue.

  2. - Dee Lay - Wednesday, Dec 4, 13 @ 11:16 am:

    A lot of work went into that horse racing agreement and bill. It’s a shame they couldn’t run it through instead of waiting until 29 Jan.

  3. - Roamin' Numeral - Wednesday, Dec 4, 13 @ 11:27 am:

    Even if the legislature passes and the governor signs the horse racing bill on January 29th, a lot of damage will have already been done. Horse owners and trainers will have sent their horses to race in states where the schedule is already set.

    Also, a lot of mare owners are making decisions about what stallions they will breed to this upcoming spring (if they haven’t decided already). Who is going to want to breed to an Illinois-eligible stallion now?

    I realize the pension bill was the big item yesterday, but not acting on the horse racing bill yesterday was really, really bad for the industry.

  4. - RNUG - Wednesday, Dec 4, 13 @ 11:39 am:

    Madigan knows that passing the corporate subsidy bill on the same day as pension reform would (a) be one more talking point in the pension lawsuit briefs, (b) be a completely tone-deaf response to the unions / state employees / retirees that were just robbed and (c) might even look bad to the part of the public that actually reads and understands the political news of the day.

  5. - yo - Wednesday, Dec 4, 13 @ 11:45 am:

    agreed RNUG. say what you will about MJM, but at least he had the sense not to pass the tax break bills yesterday. and hopefully he never will. putting the satellite tv tax into each of the house amendments was most certainly a poison pill, and a message to members that if you want to give away these tax breaks, we are going to have to pay for them somehow.

  6. - downstate hack - Wednesday, Dec 4, 13 @ 11:46 am:

    This is just another proof of legislative idiocy and/or corruption. This bill is vital to a real industry (Illinois Horseman), and is certainly more important than corporate subsidies to ADM.

  7. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Dec 4, 13 @ 12:02 pm:

    If nothing else, it showed some good taste not to pass the corporate welfare on the same day pensioneers got clipped.

    I don’t think ADM is packing up the truck for Dallas because they didn’t get their $2 million a year in beer money and country club dues yesterday. They’ll get it soon enough.

    Their general counsel is still probably decorating the $2.6 million Lincoln Park condo he bought last September (real poker-face negotiator, that one, lol).

    That $2 million annual handout represents .1% of their $2 billion in profits last year.

  8. - Carl Nyberg - Wednesday, Dec 4, 13 @ 12:28 pm:

    So, Illinois has money to give corporations after cutting pensions for retirees which violates plain-language meaning of the Illinois Constitution.

    Got it.

  9. - Lester Holt's Mustache - Wednesday, Dec 4, 13 @ 12:57 pm:

    Well, to be fair, the corporations do hand out more campaign money than retirees who collect pensions. I don’t know why everyone forgets the most important part of politics.

  10. - DuPage Dave - Wednesday, Dec 4, 13 @ 8:14 pm:

    Would it really be that bad to let the horseracing industry die? Just because it was very popular 75 or 100 or 150 years ago doesn’t mean it needs to be propped up forever.

  11. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Dec 4, 13 @ 10:19 pm:

    DD, I’m with you. How much do these guys really need to make it?

    They’re all billionaires. For crying out loud, can anyone put up their own money?

    Talk about Greek Lightning (forgive me, Louis, but you know what I’m talking about).

    I was at a wedding at Arlington Heights when the track first caught fire They put it out. Later that night, the fire started again, real good.

    C’mon, man. How big a chump do you think we are?

    Days later, Sam Vinson was carrying Ducchossis water to Big Jim in Springfield. And Big Jim paid off.

  12. - RNUG - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 7:47 am:

    wordslinger - Wednesday, Dec 4, 13 @ 10:19 pm:

    LOL. Greek Lightning reminds me of the joke about 3 retired businessmen in Florida talking about how they retired. I’ll skip the middle but the punchline was “How do you arrange a flood?”.

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