Quinn To Emanuel On Chicago Casino: Don’t Count On Cash Yet
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Updated 08/16/11 – 6:00 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Gov. Pat Quinn gave Mayor Rahm Emanuel a piece of his mind on Tuesday, telling him you can’t spend money from a Chicago casino that is still a long way from reality.
Quinn and lawmakers are at odds over legislation calling for a major expansion of gambling in Illinois, with no resolution in sight.
CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports on the political rhetoric that was flying back and forth on Tuesday between Quinn and Emanuel.
The mayor has been trying to shake loose the proposed gambling expansion that Quinn clearly doesn’t want to sign – and Emanuel has got powerful allies. The Chicago Federation of Labor, which is battling with Emanuel over work rule changes for city workers, thinks the gambling expansion is a great idea.
But the governor has been trying to claim the moral high ground, maintaining that the bill doesn’t do enough to protect the public. It’s an expensive stand-off.
“All the resources will go toward rebuilding Chicago’s infrastructure. It will create – the plan we’ve laid out – somewhere between 15 to 20-thousand jobs … rebuilding 25 new schools, 40 miles of roads,” Emanuel said.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports
The mayor’s list of things to do with revenue from a Chicago casino went on and on as he spoke about the proposed casino expansion plan on Tuesday.
But Quinn said Emanuel was getting ahead of himself.
“The notion that we’re spending the money before the law is passed I think is putting the cart before the horse,” Quinn said.
It was a pointed rebuke from the governor, who’s been getting it from all sides as he tries to decide whether to sign the proposed gambling bill, which would allow five new casinos in Illinois, including Chicago. It would also allow for slot machines at racetracks, Chicago’s two airports and the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
“No Mayor, no politician, no gambler … racetrack owner or gambling casino owner, is going to put themselves before the people of Illinois as long as I’m governor,” Quinn said.
It’s a bill almost no one likes. The Illinois Gaming Board has said it is too broad of an expansion, with too little protection from organized crime.
Casinos don’t like all the slots that would be allowed at racetracks.
But the bill’s sponsor, State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie) said “The mayor is right on the mark,” it’s a matter of money.
Emanuel said, “I will not allow Chicago’s future to be held hostage by Washington’s inaction and I will not allow Chicago’s future to be held hostage because the state obviously has other financial issues and their resources have been drying up over the years.”
Quinn can neither sign nor veto the gambling expansion legislation until it hits his desk, which can’t happen until Senate President John Cullerton releases a legislative hold he’s placed on the bill.
That won’t happen anytime soon because legislative leaders know Quinn won’t sign it as is, so lawmakers have been trying to craft so-called a “trailer bill” that would address Quinn’s concerns about regulation of expanded casino gambling.