Capitol Fax.com - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x1 - Link says votes aren’t there *** Lightfoot’s Statehouse asks: Publicly owned casino, graduated real estate transfer tax
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*** UPDATED x1 - Link says votes aren’t there *** Lightfoot’s Statehouse asks: Publicly owned casino, graduated real estate transfer tax

Tuesday, Oct 15, 2019

* I went over this topic with subscribers earlier this morning. Turns out, the Sun-Times also had much the same information

Mayor Lori Lightfoot wants the Illinois General Assembly to reduce the effective tax rate on a Chicago casino to 45 percent, have the city and state “own the license” and authorize a graduated transfer tax that would apply to commercial real estate sales.

The mayor floated those plans during a private meeting over the weekend with members of the Chicago delegation. […]

“The casino [plan] proposed to have the city and the state own the license and the casino be operated by a private vendor. That’s a difference. We’ll have to see how people feel about that issue. I can’t predict how people will react,” [Illinois House Majority Leader Greg Harris (D-Chicago)] said Monday. […]

Lightfoot’s decision to take on the concept of city and state ownership — amid a burgeoning corruption scandal that has spread from Chicago and the south suburbs to Springfield — comes as a bit of a surprise. Many expected her to keep a complicated subject simple and confine her request to the tax structure.

*** UPDATE *** Greg Hinz

Sen. Terry Link, D-Waukegan, is the chief sponsor of the bill approved in the spring that authorized new casinos in Chicago and other locations. He told me he potentially could vote for Lightfoot’s plan, but doubts most of his colleagues or Pritzker will go along.

“This idea is not new. This was floated in the spring. The governor was adamantly opposed,” Link said. “He told me that he did not want city ownership in any regard.” Asked if the votes are there to win approval in the fall veto session that begins Oct. 28, Link replied, “I don’t think so. I don’t think a single Republican would vote for that.”

I tried to reach Link yesterday, but was unsuccessful. Drat.

* From the governor’s office…

After the casino feasibility study was released in mid-August, the Governor was willing to give the new city administration time to develop alternative proposals for the Chicago casino. We understand that a number of lawmakers now have been briefed on these proposals, and we look forward to reviewing them after we are briefed on the details of the proposals. The Governor remains open to a number of approaches for making the Chicago casino successful, but with regard to public ownership, our administration would need to ensure that the challenges of public ownership are fully understood and addressed.

* Back to Greg

That [”after we are briefed on the details of the proposals”] remark points to another unusual aspect of Team Lightfoot’s handling of this matter. In normal Springfield etiquette, mayors brief all the major players, including the governor, before walking back-bench lawmakers through a proposal. In Lightfoot’s case, she briefed Chicago lawmakers and, separately, Senate President John Cullerton but not Pritzker, though I’m told the mayor has had some preliminary conversations with the governor.

Yep. There’s definitely tension between the two offices.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

18 Comments
  1. - Just Me 2 - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 10:53 am:

    I don’t trust any politician — let alone those from Chicago — to be in the gambling business. Every week this blog is dripping with more corruption and fraud in government. We don’t need that approach taken towards one of our society’s biggest vices.


  2. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 10:57 am:

    I’m excited that Mayor Lightfoot has a plan of attack of “what she wants”

    She needs the votes, she also needs “majorities” that will allow these things to start sooner as opposed to later.

    The heavy lift(s) will not be the majorities as much as the needed majorities to make the timetables.

    Why they waited so long is still a head scratcher when Lightfoot publicly went after the progressive income tax without this plan at her disposal.


  3. - Responsa - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 11:07 am:

    The timing of trying to get casino gambling going in Illinois could not be worse when juxtaposed against all the Fed activity and the shady political connections being exposed all around. This is starting to look like it may not get off the ground.


  4. - Stuntman Bob's Brother - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 11:35 am:

    ==I don’t trust any politician — let alone those from Chicago — to be in the gambling business==
    Just, I don’t even trust them to be in the “politician” business. And what do we have in Illinois? 8000 different units of government, each with the potential for Martydom.


  5. - Roman - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 11:48 am:

    Agreed that the timing is terrible for a publicly-owned casino given the news of the last few weeks. But it’s better than the alternative of changing the tax structure to make a casino more profitable for a Nevada-based gaming company. And private ownership does not guarantee you’ll keep the wiseguys out of Illinois gaming. (Just look at the Trib story on Heidner.) In fact, public ownership will at least ensure all the books are open, which might make it easier to spot shenanigans.


  6. - R A T - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 11:51 am:

    Even if current administration were able to separate a Chicago-owned casino from nefarious politicians (and that is a big if), that cannot be guaranteed for any length of time.


  7. - Fav human - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 11:54 am:

    “make no small plans”

    And apparently no small requests, either!


  8. - 33rd ward - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 12:47 pm:

    Of course the people should own the casino. Because it makes a lot of money.

    And rich people want that money.

    But it should be the city’s money.


  9. - Rudiforte - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 12:48 pm:

    I really hope the Lightfoot can figure something out. Chicago’s exploding pension debt is taking far too much of it’s tax revenue. It will only continue to get worse.


  10. - Ebenezer - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 1:02 pm:

    The idea that Chicago has the institutional muscles needed to operate a casino with both integrity and profitability seems like a stretch.

    The large public gaming companies will bid pretty aggressively for the business and because their business requires them to remain suitable for licensure in multiple jurisdictions, they respond seriously to regulatory oversight.

    It tends to be local groups that believe they have a certain amount of political insulation from oversight.


  11. - DarkDante - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 2:07 pm:

    Lightfoot out ahead of her skis on this one (a la state pick-up of pensions). Why ask for such a heavy lift in the veto session? Leaves me to ask myself whether this is merely a first time pol working through political communication issues, or a behavioral habit of Lightfoot to run all things at her own pace, politics be damned.


  12. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 2:11 pm:

    === “This idea is not new. This was floated in the spring. The governor was adamantly opposed,” Link said. “He told me that he did not want city ownership in any regard.” Asked if the votes are there to win approval in the fall veto session that begins Oct. 28, Link replied, “I don’t think so. I don’t think a single Republican would vote for that.”===

    Do the doable.

    Right now it appears Lightfoot is purposely asking for “impossible” things while also antagonizing the same folks that can help her.

    Lightfoot and her Crew look like amateurs understanding process, then message worse than those same amateurs keeping silly thoughts to themselves.


  13. - A guy - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 2:41 pm:

    And then after legislating…they did the math. Oops.


  14. - revvedup - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 3:07 pm:

    Lightfoot keeps asking for things she should know aren’t possible. Even without the latest FBI investigation, why should the State take on part of the RISK of a new casino? That the tax rates need to changed is one thing, but leaving the State holding all or part of the bag is classic Chicago politics.


  15. - CEA - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 3:15 pm:

    Can’t we just let the Outfit run it?


  16. - BC - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 3:22 pm:

    == “The governor was adamantly opposed,” Link said. “He told me that he did not want city ownership in any regard.” ==

    Did anyone ask the Guv about joint state-city ownership?

    The mayor needs to make the case to GA members that all their projects in the “vertical” capital bill are going to be really hard to fund without revenue from a Chicago casino. And she needs to get the trades (who would get plenty of work from building those projects) involved in selling her plan to the GA and JB.


  17. - James - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 4:46 pm:

    It’s embarrassing to watch the Chicago mayor being publicly educated on intergovernmental etiquette by a House floor leader.


  18. - :) - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 4:47 pm:

    ====Lightfoot and her Crew look like amateurs understanding process, then message worse than those same amateurs keeping silly thoughts to themselves.=====

    this is spot on.

    They need to do better.


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