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Loose Ends Remain as Veto Session Wraps

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Clock's Ticking for Illinois Gambling Bill
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Gov. Quinn Would Veto Casino Bill

Gov. Pat Quinn says slots at airports and racetracks are out, but there's still hope for a Chicago casino.
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Time's almost up for Illinois' fall veto session, and much work remains regarding major state issues.

Gov. Pat Quinn and lawmakers are expected to meet Tuesday in Springfield to discuss plans for the last three days. Still needing resolution is the gambling expansion bill, government pension costs and incentives to keep jobs in state as more companies threaten to leave.

Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, supporter of the casino bill, reportedly put together a scaled-back version of gambling legislation to sate Quinn's concerns about the original bill's sprawling nature and lack of oversight.

The new version dumps thousands of casino jobs and eliminates slot machines at the state park, per Quinn, but keeps slots at race tracks.

Three weeks ago Quinn promised to veto casino legislation in its current form, and since then any action on the bill has been delayed. The governor has said supporters of the gambling expansion risk overrunning the state. "They make it sound like we're all going to go to heaven if we have a casino on every street corner," Quinn said. "Well, I don't believe that."

Perhaps even more important for Quinn is a jobs package on the legislative docket and potential tax breaks for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. As big businesses threaten to leave Illinois, the governor is looking for ways to keep Chicago's big financial exchanges in town.

Incentives to keep Sears in Hoffman Estates is on the table, as well, much to the chagrin of School District 300 families who say proposed tax breaks would divert about $14 million from the district to the Sears economic development area.

So just how much work needs to be done in three days?

Senate President John Cullerton's spokeswoman, Rikeesha Phelon, told the Associated Press every major issue is still up in the air.

"All of them still need work," Phelon said.

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