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Quinn doubles down

Wednesday, Oct 19, 2011

* A close associate of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s told me once that hizzoner is at his most calm when things are going wrong. Emanuel’s most quiet, serene days during the recent campaign, my friend said, were when Emanuel was temporarily kicked off the ballot over residency issues. There was no screaming, no swearing no threats. His demeanor was “let’s find a way to work through this.”

Emanuel reacted the same way, I’m told, when Gov. Pat Quinn announced Monday that he was making huge new demands on gaming expansion which appear to kill the legislation in its tracks. So, nice words do not mean that the feud is over

After months of political feuding with Gov. Pat Quinn over casino gambling, Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday changed his tune, saying he hoped to find “common ground” that would pave the way for a Chicago casino and a bonanza of local revenues.

One day after Quinn drew the line at five new casinos and ruled out slot machines at racetracks, O’Hare and Midway Airports and the Illinois State Fairgrounds, Emanuel said he had a “good conversation” with the governor and came away encouraged. He said a revised gambling bill could be introduced by Friday.

* Mayor Emanuel made those comments before Gov. Quinn had another press conference yesterday. Raw audio…

* If you listen to that audio, you’ll know that Quinn is solidly opposed to the most important (as far as finding the votes is concerned) aspects of the gaming expansion bill. Asked if there was any chance he could relent on slots at tracks, Quinn said…

“Casino gambling locations at racetracks. The racetracks want to become casino operations. That’s what they’re looking for. The proposal that the legislature came up with, it’s way too broad and expansive, it’s excessive, and it would convert the racetracks at Illinois into gambling casinos. They can call it whatever name want, I don’t think that’s a good idea… Statutes exist today that provide adequate support for horseracing and agricultural interests. Now, they just want more. They want the opportunity to have their racetrack become a casino. I don’t think that’s the way to go.”

* Asked if there was any circumstance in which he could sign a bill to allow slot machine at a racetrack venue, Quinn said…

“Well, no. I think I spoke about this issue yesterday. I think that’s not necessary… To allow oversaturation of gambling, namely converting the racetracks into casino gambling locations, I don’t think it’s healthy for Illinois and that’s why I didn’t support that.”

* Certainly, Quinn was told, he’s been around long enough to know that the lack of any kind of progress on gaming expansion was because the tracks and the casinos were not working together. And now that the tracks are getting what they needed and enough votes were found despite casino opposition, “Did you know that this was the poison pen in signaling your opposition to it?” a reporter asked. Quinn dodged the question…

“It cannot be some kind of bill that passes to appease every single lobbyist in Springfield.”

* Asked by another reporter if his demands were a poison pill, Quinn said…

“Everything I’ve done is designed to protect the public interest, to protect integrity. It’s not designed to just get a bill passed for its own sake. I don’t think that’s healthy for Illinois.

“You know, before I arrived there was too much done the old way, the political way. Do things whatever works for the politicians for the interest groups, the lobbyists. I don’t want to do it that way, I want to do it the right way, the people’s way.”

* The governor also took some Blagojevichian shots at the General Assembly…

“There are those in the Legislature who may have friends in this or that business. Well, they’re entitled to that friendship, but that isn’t going to be the policy of Illinois.” […]

“The Legislature I think was very sloppy when they passed a bill after two days of debate, on May 31st in a hasty way. And a lot of people who said, ‘Oh, sign that bill,’ never read it. We did. 499 pages, 409 pages. And a lot of the things in that bills had loopholes you could drive a truck through.

“And so we have to stop that. And that’s the job of a governor, to say ‘No, this is a bum bill, it won’t get approved by me and go back to the drawing board and come up with something better.’ And I gave an outline, a framework of how to do it. And I think it was a pretty good one and a lot of people have said that to me in the past 24 hours.

“I think we’re on the right track and I think some of our legislative leaders and political leaders need to pay attention to that.”

* If Mayor Emanuel and the sponsors can find a way to pass this bill without slots at tracks, or get a revised bill into law over the governor’s veto, then it’ll easily be one of the biggest legislative achievements of the past ten years. That’s how tough this task is. But the governor has repeatedly dismissed the idea of a trailer bill this week, so don’t count on this tactic working

State Sen. Terry Link (D-Waukegan) said he and other legislative leaders may offer Gov. Quinn a new plan to expand gambling by the end of the week. Link said it likely would include “everything” Quinn requested in terms of anti-corruption safeguards, but it would still call for controversial slot machines at six horse racing tracks in the suburbs and Downstate. […]

Sen. Link said one possibility is that legislators could pass a second, “trailer bill,” effectively amending the already-approved Senate Bill 744. The goal would be accommodate some of Quinn’s demands. If the bargaining were successful, Quinn could then sign both bills into law.

* And the Illinois Campaign for Political reform has the running tally on campaign contributions

Gambling interests gave $388,000 to candidates and officials in 2011, including $304,300 from racetracks, $68,516 from existing casinos, and $15,100 from other gambling interests. Top recipients include Chicago for Rahm Emanuel ($74,550), the Senate Democratic Victory Fund ($23,700), and Citizens to Elect Tom Cross ($23,050).

Keep in mind that the gaming industry is split into opposing camps. The existing casinos don’t want this expansion.

* Related…

* Outgoing ag director: Fairgrounds still needs much work

* Quinn says he’s sticking to principles on gambling

* Quinn not budging on slots at tracks

* Brown: Hawthorne tries to make a pitch for casinos

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - OneMan - Wednesday, Oct 19, 11 @ 9:21 am:

    So it looks like it is dead, unless he has a major change of heart.

    Wonder if the ‘opt in’ on video poker could be used as a wedge.

  2. - Dirty Red - Wednesday, Oct 19, 11 @ 9:23 am:

    How much of this veto is about Quinn sticking to his guns versus establishing himself as someone who can’t be overlooked by Hizzonah?

  3. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Oct 19, 11 @ 9:26 am:

    I was amazed earlier in the year with the wise guys who went out their way to call Quinn “irrelevant” to the process. What hubris.

    I guess Quinn is showing a lot of big money just how relevant the governor of Illinois can be.

  4. - CircularFiringSquad - Wednesday, Oct 19, 11 @ 9:49 am:

    The sheer dopiness of the Quinn gaming gambit can be seen in the SJR article about Tom Jennings retirement. He shows how slots at the fairgrounds could solve the upkeep problems.
    The slot revenue would make this a national attraction and provide the cash to attract Tier 1 acts and lead to the return of the Hambiltonian to IL.
    PQ needs to get out and talk to his own staffers a little more.

  5. - Cam McAndrews - Wednesday, Oct 19, 11 @ 10:32 am:

    Quinn has taken gambling money just like everyone else which makes his righteousness all the more stomach turning. He also keeps coming back to the $141 million that the horseracing industry got this year. He doesn’t mention that it took them ten years of fighting in court to get it, or the fact that the 3% bill has sunsetted and they don’t get any more from that legislation. Or how about the money that the state is supposed to pay the industry for recapture but hasn’t paid in years? The money from the tenth riverboat? It has to be appropriated out of the general fund. You think that will ever happen? Quinn makes it seem like the horseracing industry is sitting pretty when it is states like Indiana and Delaware that have worked to make their programs so much better. Tens of thousands of horseracing jobs will be gone without slots to stay competitive with other states.

  6. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, Oct 19, 11 @ 10:48 am:

    A relevent governor might have mentioned his willingness to support five new casinos sometime before October. Say, perhaps, in a budget address to help explain the $1-plus billion gap in his revenues vs. spending plan. Just an idea. At least he’s got plenty of time to get better at the job.

  7. - sal-says - Wednesday, Oct 19, 11 @ 10:49 am:

    “There are those in the Legislature who may have friends in this or that business. Well, they’re entitled to that friendship, but that isn’t going to be the policy of Illinois.”

    Says the governor who has no apparent problems hiring his ‘friends’ to State positions.

  8. - L.S. - Wednesday, Oct 19, 11 @ 11:08 am:

    “I guess Quinn is showing a lot of big money just how relevant the governor of Illinois can be.”

    No one ever doubted Quinn’s position gave him the ability to throw wrenches in the gears. That’s not relavance. Relavance would have been stating his position months ago and having a role in crafting a compromise that brings the state much needed revenue while getting some of the protections he wanted. Making new enemies of the legislators your supposed to work with doesn’t equal relevance. He’s gone from amusingly confused to dangerously inept. Whether the gaming bill now dies or gets an 11th hour revival, it won’t matter to his relavance. Quinn will not have a single ally under the dome and his approval numbers will continue to sink. He has proven himself to be an extreamly poor leader and he will continue to be sidelined on other issues.

  9. - The Fox - Wednesday, Oct 19, 11 @ 12:19 pm:

    There is a serious underlying question going unexplained. How can so-called Democrats support the idea of expanding gambling aimed at ripping off the poor and get rich dreamers to make up for and spare the wealthy and not-so wealthy from paying their fair share of the burden of state (and local) services. Those multi-millionaires won’t be pulling the levers and rolling the dice, Rahm and Mike.

  10. - King Louis XVI - Wednesday, Oct 19, 11 @ 12:42 pm:

    Pat Quinn and his closest advisor, his brother Tom, are spinning endless, delusional political scenarios that have no credibility with neither the legislature nor the public, note the 29% approval rating.

    Illinois is suffering from the ineptness of both.

  11. - x ace - Wednesday, Oct 19, 11 @ 1:28 pm:

    Find it interesting that Racetracks have contributed 4 1/2 times more than Casinos.
    Thought they were the broke underdogs ?

  12. - Quinn T. Sential - Wednesday, Oct 19, 11 @ 2:05 pm:


    SPRINGFIELD — Even though Gov. Pat Quinn says he’s not budging off his position that slot machines should not be put at Arlington Park and other race tracks, state Sen. Terry Link says he thinks there’s still room to negotiate.

  13. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Oct 19, 11 @ 2:07 pm:

    QTS, that ain’t exactly new. In fact, it’s in a story excerpted in the main post.

  14. - Quinn T. Sential - Wednesday, Oct 19, 11 @ 2:08 pm:

    Despite Link’s heavy involvement in the gambling expansion push, he said he hadn’t heard about Quinn’s ideas until 30 minutes before the governor’s Monday news conference when a member of Quinn’s staff called.

    “It was not a pleasant conversation,” Link said.


  15. - Quinn T. Sential - Wednesday, Oct 19, 11 @ 2:11 pm:

    {QTS, that ain’t exactly new. In fact, it’s in a story excerpted in the main post.}

    Article updated: 10/19/2011 1:30 PM

  16. - soccermom - Wednesday, Oct 19, 11 @ 2:41 pm:

    I think this raises an interesting policy question: “The governor said the ultimate locations should be determined by the Illinois Gaming Board, not by the General Assembly.” Clearly, the gaming board understands the unique issues related to casinos. But you could argue that the General Assembly is better equipped to duke out the competing economic needs of various communities and regions. I’m not sure which way I go on this one — thoughts?

  17. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, Oct 19, 11 @ 6:43 pm:

    the problem with that statement is Quinn also said he’s OK with Rockford, Danville and Chicago. So in some cases he’s OK with lawmakers picking the spot and in others (Lake Co and southern Cook) he says its terrible to have lawmakers involved and only the gaming board can decide.

    Is there a keyboard symbol for shrugging shoulders?

  18. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Oct 19, 11 @ 8:40 pm:

    ===Is there a keyboard symbol for shrugging shoulders? ===


  19. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Oct 19, 11 @ 8:40 pm:

    Or something like that.

    Either way, you’re right about PQ and the siting stuff. Planning to do something on that topic.

  20. - Anon - Thursday, Oct 20, 11 @ 1:06 am:

    I am opposed to all state-sponsored gambling on the theory that many people gamble away money they can’t afford to lose — leading to misery for their spouses and children. This used to be a prevailing sentiment. I wonder how many people still share my belief.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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