Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Quinn to Rahm: Don't Press Your Luck on Casino

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Governor says the Mayor should slow down on his plans to spend casino revenue. (Published Tuesday, Aug 16, 2011)

    Hey, Mayor Emanuel. Slow your roll.

    Governor Pat Quinn said Tuesday during a bill signing -- another bill signing -- that he wasn't pleased by reports that Emanuel has already earmarked expected Chicago casino revenues for capital improvement projects.

    Emanuel Explains Casino Support

    [CHI] Emanuel Explains Casino Support
    The mayor ticks off a list of potential benefits of a Chicago casino. (Published Tuesday, Aug 16, 2011)

    Emanuel told the Tribune Monday that he planned to spend the multimillion dollar windfall that could come with a downtown casino on fixing up to 25 schools, rehabbing CTA lines and more.

    But Quinn said it's not a given that he'll sign the controversial legislation. In fact, it hasn't even landed on his desk.

    “What I have to do is carefully analyze this particular piece of legislation that has not arrived on my desk, so the notion that we’re spending the money before the law is passed is putting the cart before the horse,” Quinn said.

    The governor cited concerns over corruptable loopholes in the legislation, and its percieved slant toward the gambling industry.

    “No mayor, no politician, no gambling race track owner or gambling casino owner is going to put themselves before the people of Illinois as long as I’m governor,” Quinn said. 

    Emanuel was instrumental in getting the bill passed by the Illinois legislature just after his inauguration in May.

    During his own press conference, Tuesday, Emanuel addressed the issue.

    “I cannot allow Chicago to fall to second place. I will not let that happen,” the mayor said. 

    “The reason I … decided to work with Democrats and Republicans to pass a Chicago casino is because I’m committed to making sure that the resources that have not been coming from Washington, that have not been coming from Springfield [are replaced] and that we invest in our own future.”

    UPDATE: 

    Shortly after this story was posted, Emanuel's office released the following statement.

    JOINT STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF MAYOR EMANUEL’S PLAN FOR USING PROPOSED CASINO REVENUE TO IMPROVE CRUCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE AND CREATE JOBS

    From Jorge Ramirez, President, Chicago Federation of Labor, and Tom Villanova, President, Chicago & Cook County Building & Construction Trades Council 

    “Chicago’s unions are supportive of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s position to explore using potential revenue from the proposed casino toward essential infrastructure projects within the City of Chicago.  

    “Much of Chicago’s infrastructure has outlived its design life and is in need of repair. Not only will projects such as school construction, road repairs, mass transit improvements and water main renovations mean a better city for all Chicagoans, but they will also create as many as 20,000 jobs for city residents.  It will also have a positive economic multiplier effect on the city’s economy, benefitting a wide range of industries and allowing for ancillary job growth. 

    “With many vital needs that need to be addressed in the city, this is one of the ways revenue from the proposed casino can be used.  Using gaming revenue for infrastructure could free up additional funds to address other needs that are critical to maintaining a world-class city for Chicagoans.”