[This Tuesday night post has been bumped up for visibility.]
* From Jordan Abudayyeh at 5:45 pm…
The governor and mayor had another productive meeting and conversation this afternoon, and he remains committed to encouraging members of the General Assembly to support the mayor’s priorities.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot headed to Springfield on Tuesday looking for help on legislation aimed at eventually shoring up Chicago’s troubled finances — a sweetened casino tax structure and the power to hike taxes on expensive real estate deals.
She was leaving Springfield without a deal in place on either.
Lightfoot stressed the urgency of getting a casino deal done this week to help ease the concerns of bond ratings agencies and provide certainty for future budget years.
Meanwhile, the casino bill’s House sponsor, state Rep. Bob Rita, D-Blue Island, said state Sen. Terry Link, is no longer involved in negotiations.
Link, D-Vernon Hills, had been a key player in gambling talks. Sources have told the Sun-Times that Link wore a wire in the investigation that ended with bribery charges against former state Rep. Luis Arroyo. Link denies any involvement, and he has not been charged.
“I haven’t talked to Sen. Link since the bill signing. No, he hasn’t [been involved],” Rita said. “I’ve talked with some of the senators, and I asked who was going to be the Senate sponsor, and we’re still waiting on that. But we have been negotiating with the Senate and staff. I’ve had talks with Senate President [John] Cullerton too.”
Rita said there were a number of questions from lawmakers in the south and north suburbs — areas where new casinos are proposed — about where the Chicago location would go. And negotiations aren’t just focused on restructuring the 33 percent tax rate. Rita said a change in fees is also in play, should the tax rate be adjusted.
“We’re getting close, but you know there’s other outlying issues that we need to address that [Lightfoot has] seen in caucus here that have been around,” Rita said. “So it’s not all just about the tax rates … and what it’s going to impact on the city of Chicago in the state, but there’s other issues that we’re faced with that we’re trying to work through.”
* From Jordan Abudayyeh at 8 pm…
The governor has said from the outset that it’s important for all parties to get the Chicago casino right, including maximizing the opportunities for jobs for residents and revenue to address our financial obligations, and if the city’s gaming legislation reaches his desk, he will sign the bill. Over the past several days, staff from the city, both the House and the Senate and the governor’s office have discussed the contours of a proposal, and there has been broad agreement from the parties. Our understanding is that legislators will be filing a bill shortly, and the governor would encourage lawmakers to support it.
* Chicago Mayor Pleads Case in Springfield on Casino, Budget: Lightfoot told reporters after meeting with House Democrats that talks are continuing and said legislation to fix the casino problem would come “shortly.” She didn’t say whether that meant before Thursday’s adjournment of the fall session.
* Chicago mayor pleads case in Springfield on casino, budget
* Mayor Lightfoot Tells State Lawmakers City Needs Casino To Fill Budget Hole