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Budget, capital, gaming roundup

Sunday, Jun 2, 2019 - Posted by Rich Miller

* The Senate will take up budget/capital/gaming/etc. concurrences today. It shouldn’t be a problem…

* House declares victory: A more than $40 billion budget – described as balanced – and a more than $40 billion capital construction program are the big pieces. The House also approved six new casinos (Chicago, Waukegan, southern Cook County, Rockford, Danville, and near Marion), sports betting, a doubling of the gas tax (to 38 cents) and adding a dollar per pack to the cigarette tax (to $2.98).

* Expanded gambling legislation advances to Senate: According to lawmakers, all revenues from the bill would go toward funding the vertical components of a new capital infrastructure plan, such as renovations to prisons or university buildings. Those revenues would come from a variety of license fees and taxes on new operators in the sports betting and expanded casino industries.

* House clears budget, gambling measure that includes adding Chicago casino: House lawmakers on Saturday also achieved what once seemed impossible: agreeing on a comprehensive gambling expansion and sports-betting bill that not only survived a feud between a billionaire casino owner and two fantasy sports-betting companies, but also added authorizing a long-talked about and controversial Chicago casino. Money the city would get from the casino would be earmarked to pay for police and fire pensions. It also would bring slot machines to three horse racing tracks. The measure also survived consternation from Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who late Friday said she couldn’t get on board with having slot machines at places like Soldier Field. By Saturday afternoon, after talks with Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin and Gov. J.B. Pritzker, she changed her tune.

* In overtime, lllinois House OKs new taxes for public works program and a gambling expansion that includes a Chicago casino: The House “led the way” on the creation of a capital bill, Republican Rep. Margo McDermed of Mokena said. “Long-term, sustainable funding is the key, ladies and gentleman,” McDermed said. “This is a good way to move forward.” The list of public works projects moved to the Democratic governor’s desk while the tax-hike project funding still awaits Senate approval. But some Republicans took to the House floor to defend some of the tax increases included in the budget and capital plan. Republican Rep. Steve Reick of Woodstock, said he was supporting the gas tax increase to support infrastructure improvements, decrying the state of the roads in parts of McHenry County. The capital plan includes a major widening of Illinois Route 47 through Woodstock.

* Budget Done — Building And Gambling Plans To Go: The heart of budget calls for spending more than $40.6 billion on state operations — funding a year’s worth of everything from schools and universities to prisons and the state police. Elementary and high school districts would see an increase of $375 million, exceeding the $350 million annual minimum established in the 2017 education funding overhaul. State universities would see a 5 percent increase. Lawmakers avoided many of the new and higher taxes Pritzker proposed during his budget address, like a new tax on shopping bags. That’s largely because of the “April surprise” — $1.5 billion in unexpected tax collections. That windfall prompted the analysts at the legislature’s nonpartisan budget unit to increase next year’s income tax revenue forecast by $725 million. The budget does, however, impose a new tax on the insurance companies that participate in the state’s Medicaid program. It also counts on changes in the law around sales taxes for online purchases.

* Overtime session produces Illinois budget, construction, taxes: Democrats, who control every facet of state government, led the way with cooperation from minority Republicans, who acknowledged the budget is balanced, were gratified to get business-building and job-creation incentives and recognized the need to pay for fixing roads, schools, prisons and other public works ignored for years. “This state is uniquely situated in our country,” GOP Rep. Tim Butler of Springfield said during debate over doubling the gasoline tax to 38 cents a gallon. “We are a leader in transportation, but our infrastructure is crumbling. We have to reinvest, people.”

* Springfield loses out on casino, but gets full rail funding: In total, it appears the city has secured the full $122 million it requested for the rail project in the $40.6 billion capital bill that was filed.

* ‘We worked it out’: House wraps up work one day late with a bang as Chicago gets a casino — and sports betting: Over the course of negotiations, the length of the so-called “penalty box” has been cut in half twice, from six years earlier this month to three years, and most recently down to 18 months. FanDuel and DraftKings told The Daily Line last week the companies were prepared to sue the state if they were banned from operating in Illinois for a set period. In the final language of SB 690, FanDuel and DraftKings aren’t completely shut out of sports betting in Illinois, as the companies both have corporate partnerships with casino parent companies. FanDuel has an existing partnership with Boyd Gaming Corp., which owns the casino in East Peoria, and DraftKings has a partnership with Caesars’ Gaming, which also owns Harrah’s Joliet and Harrah’s Metropolis casinos. While the gaming expansion bill doesn’t allow FanDuel and DraftKings to use their own branding for 18 months, they will be able to operate sports books in partnership with those three casinos. Meanwhile, Bluhm’s Rush Street Gaming will likely make a play for its sports betting website PlaySugarHouse to enter into the market and buy one of the state’s three available $20 million online sports betting licenses.


  1. - wordslinger - Sunday, Jun 2, 19 @ 3:26 pm:

    If all those bright, new, shiny casinos get built, you have to wonder if all the existing ones will make it, particularly in the Chicago metro (and Indiana).

  2. - Former State Worker - Sunday, Jun 2, 19 @ 3:27 pm:

    I’ll be interested to see if FanDuel will build a Midwest HQ in Chicago with the way SB690 is written? All I can find is that they just wanted a sports betting bill passed?

  3. - Former State Worker - Sunday, Jun 2, 19 @ 3:31 pm:

    =If all those bright, new, shiny casinos get built, you have to wonder if all the existing ones will make it, particularly in the Chicago metro (and Indiana).=

    I mean, probably? Traffic were certainly decrease at certain locations but I would think the suburban ones aren’t getting a whole lot of people who live in the city anyways. If you can’t run a profitable casino then you really must be a horrible business man…*cough* *cough*

    It will be interesting to see where in city of Chicago they will build the land based casino? I know details are sketchy right now since this is all still pending bill approval but I’m interested to see more details about the casino itself. All I can find is that it will have 4,000 gaming positions.

  4. - Oswego Willy - Sunday, Jun 2, 19 @ 3:51 pm:

    This spring session arguably has few rivals.

    The depth and number of issues, policies, a constitutional amendment, cannibis, gambling… capital bill…

    Illinois is a functioning state, governing within 60/30 signature and moving Big things forward, moving the state forward, righting the ship while moving policy thru the proper governing ways. It’s so incredible.

    What a difference a competent governor makes.

    The Raunerites of the 99th and 100th General Assemblies…take notice;

    You sold out, and continue to be seen as such, to a governor who owned you, and you appreciated being owned.

    You can agree or disagree with the policy and issues that passed and became law(s), but you look how Governor Pritzker went about his business, and how Mr. Rauner purposely forced Illinois into a ditch because of 60 and 30…

    I look at Mr. Wehrli, Mr. Demmer, Mr. Barickman…

    I see you and your colleagues of that past as wholly complicit. Without owning your failures then, even the bipartisan wins here scream of how the Raunerites wanted to destroy, as Governor Pritzker wants to lead.

    Mr. Rauner would’ve loved to be seen as a wheeler-dealer, hard negotiator, uncaving, a leader with a vision.

    Mr. Rauner was someone unworthy of the levers we saw Governor Pritzker use to move Illinois forward, even including party discipline, and embracing bipartisanship when it mattered.

    How utterly foolish the Raunerites look, as they themselves see the bipartisanship in things, and how governing should work. Fear not, Raunerites, I have the receipts. After this session, the glaring ways you want others to forget as you scramble to seem different won’t be forgotten.

    I can be this way.


    Because Governor Pritzker will work with all, look for common ground, make sure his word is good, and will have a short memory, as governors know there are no permanent enemies, just permanent interests.

    If this session is any indication how 2020 will be shaped, if the GOP wants to move on, then accepting where Governor Pritzker is leading, while being the opposition, the mistake will again be… allowing the Wehrlis, Demmers, Barickmans, be co-opted by the Uihleins, Profts, and Ives… and the Eastern Bloc thinking… as the Dems, with an able governor in Governor Pritzker move deeper and deeper into the collars… permanently.

    What a session.

    Congratulations to Anne Caprara, her entire crew, and the work done by all four caucuses, and the coming together for a better Illinois.

    Lots to learn, but most importantly don’t forget; Raunerism begat Governor Pritzker, and Governor Pritzker is leading this state, and doing it in a way his predecessor could never understand.

  5. - Truthteller - Sunday, Jun 2, 19 @ 3:53 pm:

    A big win for Rockford, and Peoria with casinos. I believe the Paradice can become land based on Peoria side.

  6. - Blue Dog Dem - Monday, Jun 3, 19 @ 6:50 am:

    Wow. Walkers bluff in pine for a casino
    Surprise. Surprise. Surprise.

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