Mayor Lori Lightfoot Heads to Springfield With Lengthy Agenda

Lightfoot will look to make progress on bringing a casino to Chicago, as well as other money-generating initiatives

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot will head to Springfield on Tuesday with several key objectives on her to-do list as the city puts together its budget.

Lawmakers in Springfield are currently engaged in their veto session for the year, and as Lightfoot makes the trip downstate, she is aiming to get some momentum behind one of her key initiatives.

“Casinos I think are at the top of the list, but I think there’s a couple of other things we’re looking at as well,” she said.

Lawmakers are examining ways to enable Chicago to attract a casino developer after a feasibility study found that a casino in the city was not feasible due to an “onerous tax and fee structure.”

Lightfoot will also make several requests aimed at helping the city close funding gaps in its budget, including a change to the state sales tax formula and a real estate transfer tax, which could generate up to $50 million for the city budget.

Some Democrats, including State Rep. Mary Flowers, are on board with the plan, but others are asking that up to 60 percent of that money go to helping solve the state’s issues with homelessness.

“People don’t realize how many people are homeless in the city,” State Rep. Jackie Collins said. “We have over 6,000 homeless students in the public schools system. That’s unconscionable in a nation of wealth.”

Lightfoot’s requests come at a busy time, as the state deals with an ethics crisis. Several high-profile lawmakers have had their offices raided as part of a sweeping probe, and Lightfoot recognizes the need for reforms to strengthen public confidence in the institutions of government.

“There’s a lot going on down there,” she said. “The governor has a plan to introduce an ethics package, and we’re looking forward to doing what we can to support him on that.”

The veto session will begin on Tuesday and is scheduled to run through Thursday.

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