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This just in…

Wednesday, Sep 26, 2007

* 11:20 am - House Speaker Michael Madigan has left the leaders meeting in Chicago. The meeting had been requested by House GOP Leader Tom Cross.

Madigan may be gone, but the other leaders, including the governor, are still in Cross’ office as I write this (minus Frank Watson, who is being represented by Sen. Christine Radogno). Madigan told reporters on his way out that there needs to be public hearings on any gaming expansion plan.

The Speaker has claimed that he supports a capital bill, but has so far refused to come on board any gaming expansion beyond more positions at current casinos. The Senate has passed legislation that would fund the capital bill with three new casinos and lots more positions at the current boats. Rep. Cross has said he could support a Chicago casino.

* 11:51 am - The governor just told reporters that there is now a consensus among all leaders except Speaker Madigan on capital and gaming.

* 12:52 pm - Some of the private spin coming out of the confab was that it was a “good” meeting and that Madigan was not as obstructive as some thought he would be. Still, Madigan expressed doubt that his caucus would go for such a big gaming expansion and has concerns about the capital bill as written.

* 1:28 pm - From GateHouse

“I don’t think that the people of Illinois have had an adequate opportunity to learn what’s in this bill,” Madigan told reporters who waited outside the meeting at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago.

Madigan did not offer firm dates for the hearings, which would be held in Chicago and Springfield.

There are a lot of little things in that bill that could be dredged up in a hearing and put in the worst possible light.

* 1:46 pm - CBS2’s report

Madigan told reporters he is skeptical of the new plan, saying it would make Chicago a major gambling area, second only to Las Vegas.

* 2:20 pm - From a press release

Illinois Republican Party Chairman Andy McKenna today called on Governor Rod Blagojevich to oppose County Board President Todd Stroger’s plan to raise the Cook County sales tax. As a candidate himself, Blagojevich repeatedly indicated his opposition to higher taxes on working people, but now remains curiously quiet about a key ally’s proposal to drastically increase taxes on the working men and women of Cook County.

“Governor Blagojevich has spent years in Springfield grandstanding against higher sales and income taxes while secretly raising fees and other taxes,” said McKenna. “If Rod Blagojevich is to have any credibility on this issue he needs to tell his friend and ally Todd Stroger that Cook County families simply cannot afford this type of tax increase just to fund their lavish government spending.”

* 3:30 pm - This is exactly why I took a couple of days off. I had no confidence at all that the veto session will last just two weeks, and now I’m even more convinced. From the Tribune

Madigan spokesman Steve Brown, however, made it clear that the speaker is in no rush to convene the gambling hearings, which have yet to be scheduled. He said the sessions in Chicago and Springfield would be held sometime “in the coming weeks,” but he said there is no guarantee they will take place before Oct. 12, the end of the fall veto session. Transit agencies have set Nov. 4 as the date service cuts would be implemented, limiting people’s ability to get around.

In fact, Brown said, lawmakers shouldn’t expect the veto session to signal the end of the record-setting overtime session, which has been going on for four months and which Madigan seems to be willing to extend indefinitely.

“This has gone on an interminable length of time, so I don’t know why anybody would suddenly think the veto session would mark the end,” Brown said.

The House already is scheduled to meet through the end of October. “That could be extended if necessary,” Brown said.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Just wondering - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 11:33 am:

    Cross has an office in Chicago?

  2. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 11:34 am:

    Yes, at the JRTC.

  3. - anon - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 11:44 am:

    HEARINGS? I thought we went through all of that earlier in the summer with Lou Lang. Get on with it. The only solution is to give out 3-5 new licenses where they make sense (Chicago, North & South sides, Rockford), put slots at the race tracks to help horse racing and let the existing boats expand.

  4. - Anon 1 - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 11:45 am:

    Madigan leaving the meeting is lame. That to me shows someone that is unwilling to compromise with others. If three leaders are willing to discuss it the fourth should too even if he doesn’t agree. Humor them at least.

  5. - Northside Bunker - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 11:54 am:

    How many times has Blago walked out of meetings or not even shown up?

  6. - Leigh - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 11:59 am:

    Madigan may have had somewhere else to be, or he wanted to get to the press first? He walked out saying nice things about the meetings progress, hardly the sort of temper tantrums the gov likes to have.

  7. - Huh? - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 12:15 pm:

    How many times has blago said something that turned out to be untrue?

  8. - Anon 1 - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 12:27 pm:

    Had somewhere else to go? Talk to the press first? Yeah right. Session starts again next week. It would be nice to get down there for once with a little progess.

  9. - Princeville - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 12:31 pm:

    Madigan said the meeting was going well. I think that a hearing in the Springfield area and one in the Chicago area to explain to citizens the bill is a good idea and not something to be belittled. Speaker Madigan seems bent on letting the citizens hear and understand this year–sure beats the backroom 5 mentality we normally get.

    I can almost picture Al Capone doing a happy dance from the grave with the thought of legal gambling in Chicago.

  10. - More Tracks - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 12:33 pm:

    Maybe Mike wanted go check on the progress of the Governor’s plane refurbishment. Wonder if the pilots will be required to wear Elvislike jumpsuits (sideburns too) once it’s ready for it’s future stealth missions.

  11. - been there - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 12:43 pm:

    On the subject of the South Suburban casino, tell us all about the Shaw brothers, please, Rich, starting with Ty Kenner and the Third Ward, where they started.

  12. - Pottersville - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 12:59 pm:

    Some people (godfathers and such) are going to become very rich.
    Thank you Illinois Taxpayers

  13. - the patriot - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 1:26 pm:

    Madigan is apparently the only realist here. He knows he will never get enough votes on a gaming expansion of this magnitude to get the house democrats on board with the republicans.

    He knows what votes he has and what he doesn’t. We have been trying to solve our state’s problems with gambling all summer and it has never had enough votes to get through. It is idiotic to think it does now.

    Raise taxes or cut spending. Don’t put the band aid of Gambling on Blago’s spending spree and call it a good thing. Any republican that votes for a gambling expansion to help Blago cover his dismal phyiscal policies should be voted out of office.

  14. - Captain America - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 1:29 pm:

    I sense a compromise among the legislative leaders shaping up on the capital bill. As long as that compromise includes an ironclad commitment to pass and override the Governor’s promised veto of the Hamos mass transit bill, I can live with it.

  15. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 1:35 pm:

    That compromise will have to include more than that, CA.

  16. - The 'Broken Heart' of Rogers Park - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 2:01 pm:

    Vegas will be drying up (as in no water) soon. Then Chicago can be the number #1 gambling spot.

  17. - Downstater - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 2:10 pm:

    “…make Chicago a major gambling area, second only to Las Vegas.”

    That would be sweet. Does that mean we get to use Vegas’ saying, “What goes on in Chicago, stays in Chicago.” How appropriate!!

  18. - DC - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 2:22 pm:

    This reminds me of the famous scene in Midnight Run, when Jack Walsh and Jimmy Serrano met at the airport in Vegas. It’s a bit of a stretch, but there are certainly some eerie similiarities.

  19. - Capitol Bill - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 2:23 pm:

    You are never more than minutes from gaming anywhere in this state. Raise taxes or more gaming - gaming is a choice - we cannot afford more tax in Chicago. Maybe some can - but most cannot. Another bridge collapse in Vietnam (52 Dead) - the Congress bridge looks like it will fall apart anyday. This state needs money to provide some basic needs - education and safe, affordable transportation. I hope Madigan realizes these are needs and some of us cannot afford more taxes. If this bills does not pass, I would think Madigan will get the blame for the transit mess that we will be dealing with…. that name will never win another election.

  20. - anon34 - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 2:35 pm:

    This is the problem with Madigan and his apologists:

    “Madigan is apparently the only realist here. He knows he will never get enough votes on a gaming expansion of this magnitude to get the house democrats on board with the republicans.”

    He should let the members decide. Madigan plays daddy too often and his members let him get away with it. He was more than happy to bring the GRT to a vote knowing it would fail. If he thinks gambling expansion would fail, then prove it.

    There is so much talk about Blago when in reality Madigan is no different. This isn’t a dictatorship, it’s a junta (sp?).

  21. - Princeville - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 2:48 pm:

    Well, if this bill is so wonderful and much needed in the way it is now written, then it will have no problems taking a slight detour through a couple hearings. The race for immediate committment without knowing exactly what and how we’re committing to makes one think of the 1400 page budget that gets set on their lap 10 minutes before they are told to vote on it. I, for one, would like to learn what all it consist of and how it will effect all of Illinois for the better and possibly worse. And if I were the Speaker, I would hold back the vote until the Emil decides to be reasonable and allow a chance for the Senate to vote the vetoes. Who would trust a verbal agreement with Jones now?

  22. - DC - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 2:55 pm:

    More importantly, who would trust a verbal agreement from Governor Chucky?

  23. - DC - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 4:02 pm:

    I would suggest there’s a very quick way to resolve the gambling bill: update the Senate Calendar to include a veto override bill on the “savage” cuts from the FY08 appropriations bill. If Chicago wants a casino, Emil will have to cave on letting his members (and by default their constituents) vote on whether to accept or reject the Governors reductions. If they believe the reductions are justified, vote no on an override. Same principle involved on the gambling bill. If it’s that great, it will withstand a few hours of public debate. Billions are at stake on this — I think it deserves slightly more than a pinky swear from an office meeting at the JRTC.

  24. - A Citizen - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 4:31 pm:

    Whenever they get around to raising the X number of billions it would be wise to place it directly where it is intended and not susceptible to redirection by Blago. As has been stated so eloquently in so many ways “He can’t be trusted!” Money for much needed cap. projects otherwise could be ending up in his grandiose health program. Slippery manipulation of the state’s resources shouldn’t be used to fund any program that can’t stand on its own merits and succeed through the legislative process.

  25. - anon - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 4:33 pm:

    First the Speaker tries to put transit at risk, he’s got the schools waiting for the Budget Implementation Plan for $54 million.

    Now he’s trying to hold up the capital bill and its revenue source.

    Too bad. I thought he was better all this. I guess he thinks organized labor and the public are too stupid to know what he’s doing.

  26. - anon - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 4:34 pm:

    And I forget…Haven’t we had enough of his PR hearings being paid for by the taxpayers? Enough is enough..

  27. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 4:37 pm:

    I wonder how many times Mr. McKenna called on Denny Hastert and George Bush to control their ridiculous spending levels from 2001-2006. My guess would be none.

  28. - Jason - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 4:52 pm:

    Wow, an Andy McKenna sighting…go figure.

  29. - jwscott72 - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 4:56 pm:

    “Transit agencies have set Nov. 4 as the date service cuts would be implemented, limiting people’s ability to get around.” We all know how well the legislature works with deadlines (snicker).

    We need a capital spending plan. Too many things are falling part and members know this. MJM may or may not know how many votes he has. Remember that we spent August and a chunk of September counting on strong GOP opposition?

    Time will tell. I hear hotels and bars in Springfield are stocking up on two month supply of booze and fresh linens starting October 2nd.

  30. - Truthful James - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 5:12 pm:

    Team Sleep –

    Thanks for the coda in a different key, the Madigan fugue was getting repititious.

    Good to see the Dems back in charge in DC and passing higher spending Bills that GWB had requested. Reid and Pelosi must have taken lessons from the Springfield group.

    GWB, of course, has had a dry veto pen, and they don’t have line item there anyway.

  31. - A Citizen - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 5:13 pm:

    blago set the stage for this Quagmire - the only Truthful voice in the wilderness is Speaker Madagin’s. The process will take as long as blago’s intransigence and ineptitude causes. Efforts to slide the cloak of blame and shame from gov to others isn’t working, as hard as the spinmeisters may be trying. With rational cooperation, the Leadership provided by Madagin will return our state gov’t to sanity and order.

  32. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 5:27 pm:

    Rich, time to restock the “Overtime in H***” swag. It’s never gonna end.

  33. - Princeville - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 6:26 pm:

    Wonder if they pass a major capitol bill if Emil will finally let the Senate vote for sub-contractors being made public? Will the contracts for the building/repair projects bebid fairly, or like with Coke when they asked for clarification only not to get answers? I seem to remember bids on health insurance on state employees having to be rebid a few years back also. I’m interested in not only how we are going to pay for it all but as to who all is going to gain from it and for what reasons.

  34. - A Citizen - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 6:36 pm:

    “…I seem to remember bids on health insurance on state employees having to be rebid…” That was back when First they practiced to deceive. They’re much craftier now. Fitz, however is the craftiest.

  35. - FED UP - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 6:46 pm:


    Dont even think about ethics reform Emil will have none of that. He can be trusted to do whats best for thestate as far as gambling goes though. Why not put gaming in the airports midway and Ohare. This would let all the stranded passangers have something to do when there plane is hours late. Blago likes airports he is always flying around wasting tax money and avoiding reporters questions about scandals and fed investigations.

  36. - Lainer - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 6:38 am:

    In Narnia, it was always winter and never Christmas. In Springfield, it’s always summer and never recess.

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