* 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.