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Regionalism or deflection?

Friday, Nov 15, 2019

* Tina Sfondeles and Mitchell Armentrout

Chicago Democrats who supported [the Downstate and suburban pension consolidation] plan argued it’s time for lawmakers from across the state to help the city deal with its pension mess — which the Chicago casino is supposed to do.

“We took a leap of faith, but this body, as somebody said, needs to stop the regionalism and take a leap of faith that will allow Chicago to move forward appropriately and responsibly with a casino that will fund the projects that are going to be built all over this state,” State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, said during debate of the casino cleanup measure. […]

The revised structure would have introduced a new graduated tax system specific to the Chicago casino with a higher overall tax rate compared to existing casinos but with a smaller percentage going to the state, and a relatively bigger chunk earmarked for the city. […]

That didn’t sit well with some Republicans who viewed it as a special deal for Chicago.

* The Center Square

In a show of frustration over the lack of support for Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s proposed changes that would have allowed a casino there, Chicago lawmakers pulled their support and asked for others to do the same on a bill that, had it failed, could have held up the state’s other casinos and the rollout of sports gambling.

When an amended Senate Bill 222 was called in the House, Chicago lawmakers began cryptically prodding state Rep. Bob Rita, D-Blue Island, about why it was being called, why another bill wasn’t being considered, and whether he could alter his bill to inject language into it.

Soon, it became clear that the Chicago lawmakers were frustrated with the lack of support from those outside of the city on Senate Bill 516, an amended bill that contained the changes Lightfoot said she’d need to get a Chicago casino off the ground. […]

Chicago lawmakers contended that those opposing the casino bill were endangering the state’s infrastructure bill as well.

“You’re right, this is a simple technical bill and the reality is that this could jeopardize the vertical capital projects,” said Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago. “But, do you know what else is going to jeopardize the vertical capital projects? Not having a Chicago casino.”

* From Amanda Vinicky’s WTTW story

“I was identified as the point person for the House Republican caucus a year and a half ago on gaming issues. And throughout this whole thing, since the spring session, the city of Chicago has not approached me once – not a phone call, not an email, not a meeting – to talk about the Chicago casino,” said Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield.

On the one hand, I can see Rep. Cassidy’s point. Chicago Democrats voted with Downstate and suburban members on the first responder pension consolidation plan, but then they couldn’t get support for a bill that would help their first responder pension systems.

On the other hand, the city’s push started too late (you don’t run out of time at the Statehouse, you start too late) and there were serious problems with the way the whole thing was handled, so the accusations could be seen as a deflection of blame from the mayor.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

13 Comments
  1. - Thomas Paine - Friday, Nov 15, 19 @ 11:52 am:

    It’s deflection.

    As evidenced by the complaint from the Mayor that she only had “a day-and-a-half” to pass a revised casino tax.

    Something she has been saying she wanted since May.

    Unreported in all of this though is that Link has been quoted as saying he was in regular talks with the city about a fix.

    I mean, they were ignoring his advice about a city-owned license, but they were talking.

    If their strategy hinged on Link as their pointman, it is easy to see 1) why that didn’t work out well and 2) why they do not want to admit it.

    Still, blaming downstate is not going to help you in January.


  2. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Nov 15, 19 @ 11:54 am:

    The mayor of the city of Chicago…

    There’s a continuing and ongoing pattern of being very late to things, divisive, purposely confrontational, and then finding things so far out of the lane, it turns into a cleanup by Staff and Crew, usually designed as a “framed clarification”

    One only needs to look at the current Uber “misspeak” or whatever the Mayor still wants the attack to be… or the recent “ultimatum overload” including the “no days” to 5 days cave because this Mayor… frankly lacks.

    Raunerite qualities, but not Raunerite policies.

    It’s important to look at the Mayor, since May, as someone who approaches things in an Amateur way… like being late to strikes, budgets, now legislative fixes.

    There’s a big difference between rookies and amateurs. Rookies are green, eager, overreaching… Amateurs are the same, but think their ways to manage what they don’t know… is best… even if it continually fails to get the wanted results.

    That’s an Amateur.

    This is also a Lightfoot Crew error. You can either be trusted to influence and help to get the boss to succeed, or you can’t control, even with all the hard work, the boss blowing up your work…

    Not being trusted to handle things, that’s a Lightfoot fault, sure, but you can’t continually lose the argument or have the boss work against whatever you think needs to be done to help.

    It’s not Rep. Cassidy’s fault, either.


  3. - Shytown - Friday, Nov 15, 19 @ 11:54 am:

    When is someone going to have a proper sit down with Mayor Lightfoot and explain how process runs in getting a bill done? Being elected mayor is not enough and doesn’t guarantee you getting what you want.


  4. - Anon - Friday, Nov 15, 19 @ 11:55 am:

    How are those two bills comparable? Did the pension consolidation bill affect Chicago or the State negatively? Were Chicago politicians voting against their local interest? Not to my knowledge. The Chicago gaming bill, however, would alter the rules to allow Chicago more revenue at the expense of the State as a whole.


  5. - Perrid - Friday, Nov 15, 19 @ 12:23 pm:

    Definitely deflection. I’m still not sure the taxes are too high, and I’d imagine others aren’t either. They might be right but it still seems like the “Give’em an inch and they’ll take a mile” saying. Whether “them” is the private owners or the city.

    If they are all so dead certain the Chicago casino can’t happen with these rates, then they should have been hanging this drum since before the original bill passed.


  6. - Anyone Remember - Friday, Nov 15, 19 @ 12:24 pm:

    And Illinois creates it’s own version of The West Lothian question … :( .


  7. - Lucky Pierre - Friday, Nov 15, 19 @ 12:24 pm:

    The super majority democratic legislature, lead by Chicagoans for decades, passed a flawed casino bill that was signed by a Governor who is also from Chicago, that imposed a tax rate that was so severe there were no gaming partners willing to invest in the project.

    And then the professionals and the super smart commenters here blame the rookie amateur Mayor of Chicago for failing to convince the Supermajority Democratic legislature to fix their mistakes.

    The problem is always somewhere else, with someone else and never with the all powerful Speaker.

    Priceless


  8. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Nov 15, 19 @ 12:46 pm:

    === blame the rookie amateur Mayor of Chicago for failing to convince the Supermajority Democratic legislature to fix their mistakes.===

    Like the failed Bruce Rauner… it’s always…

    60/71, 30/36… signature.

    Not everyone is a robot bought off with $50 million and threat of “No $&@#% problems”

    The mere fact you can’t grasp process is why you still pine for a failed governor, a quitter, who failed at quitting too.

    You both lack the idea of process.

    Amateur thinking.

    Thanks for proving my point.


  9. - Anon For Now - Friday, Nov 15, 19 @ 1:38 pm:

    Deflection. The amount of legislation that passes with special carve outs for Chicago shows there’s more than enough willingness to support the city.


  10. - low level - Friday, Nov 15, 19 @ 1:45 pm:

    Absolutely deflection and agree that blaming downstate was short sighted as well. Butler’s comment says it all.


  11. - Thomas Paine - Friday, Nov 15, 19 @ 2:10 pm:

    @Lucky Pierre -

    Lightfoot’s team asked for changes to the gaming bill in May.

    The changes Lightfoot’s team wanted were made.

    Lightfoot’s team signed off on the changes.

    Lightfoot’s team signed off on the bill.

    Lightfoot only complained about the tax rate after it passed. And she complained not to lawmakers or the governor, but to the press.

    If what Lightfoot wants is not on the bill, that’s not Pritzker’s fault or Madigan’s or Cullerton’s or anyone else but Team Lightfoot.

    That said, Rita believes the city’s mistake will be fixed in the Spring. Let’s believe him.


  12. - Centennial - Friday, Nov 15, 19 @ 2:15 pm:

    “You don’t run out of time at the statehouse, you start too late.”

    Painfully true.


  13. - Last Bull Moose - Friday, Nov 15, 19 @ 2:22 pm:

    Chicago still bans video gaming. That costs the City and the State money. If I were a downstate legislator, That would be a huge problem. Change that and then we can talk.


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