Quinn vetoes gambling expansion bill

Quinn vetoes gambling expansion bill

Gov. Pat Quinn on Tuesday vetoed the gambling expansion bill that would have brought a casino to Danville, as well as to Chicago and three other sites in the state, and would have permitted slot machines at racetracks.

“The most glaring deficiency of Senate Bill 1849 is the absence of strict ethical standards and comprehensive regulatory oversight. Illinois should never settle for a gaming bill that includes loopholes for mobsters,” Quinn wrote in his veto message.

“Notably this legislation lacks a ban on campaign money from gaming licensees and casino managers. We must prevent campaign contributions by gaming operators from infecting our political process.”

Quinn said the bill does not ensure “clear regulatory oversight” over the proposed Chicago casino.

Former state Rep. Bill Black of Danville, now the head of a group promoting expanded gambling, said the bill would mean potentially billions more in revenue to state and local governments.

"We missed an opportunity today to add 20,000 new jobs and generate more than $1 billion in one-time licensing fees and more than $200 million in new annual revenue," said Black. "Despite efforts that would have satisfied the governor's call for tighter restrictions and additional oversight, fiscal relief for the state has now been furthered delayed."

Rep. Chad Hays, R-Catlin, said lawmakers now would “redouble their effort” to override Quinn’s veto later this fall. The General Assembly is scheduled to return to Springfield for two weeks in late November and early December.

“We’re in pretty good shape in the House,” Hays said. “The Senate will be more work. We only got 30 votes for the bill and we may have lost one since. So that means we’re going to have to pick up seven more votes.”

He said pro-casino legislators “have been working diligently behind the scenes since the governor received the bill. We fully anticipated the veto and have been working on the head count that we will need to override the veto.

“For people who are enthusiastic about what this means for the Danville area, I would say the ball is back in our court and a lot of good people are working very hard to make sure we can do this without the blessing of the governor,” Hays said.

Sen. Mike Frerichs, D-Champaign, who also supported the gambling expansion, said the legislation would have benefited the state as well as Danville, Chicago, Rockford, Park City and an undetermined south Chicago suburb.

“It’s disappointing at a time of tight budgets and a difficult economy that the governor would veto a bill that would bring in more money to pay down our backlog of bills and help communities that could really use the economic boost,” Frerichs said. “Our next step should be getting our votes lined up to override his veto during the veto session.”

Frerichs said that gaining seven votes in the Senate “is going to be difficult, but we’re elected to deal with the challenges facing the state and that’s what I intend to be working on the next few months before the veto session.”

“I don’t think anything is impossible and there are many people who will be open to changing their minds. It’s our job to go out and convince them of the merits of this.”

Frerichs' general election opponent, Champaign Republican John Bambenek, said he was skeptical of Quinn's stated reasons for vetoing the bill.

"Governor Quinn's opposition to gambling expansion was always opposition in search of justification," Bambenek said. "Ironically, I suspect his opposition has more to do with the campaign contributions he received from gambling interests that would be harmed by this bill than any real principled stand."

The bill is SB1849.



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Sid Saltfork wrote on August 28, 2012 at 10:08 am

What a hypocritical statement from Quinn.  He received a whopping campaign donation in 2010 from the parent company of Northstar which received the state contract for privatizing the state lottery right before the 2010 election.  Whatever happened to investigative journalism?

sameeker wrote on August 28, 2012 at 11:08 am

Since the state is in so much trouble, the governor should forfiet his salary, expenses, the governors mansion, Chicago office and his campaign chest in the interest of the state.

The FBI needs to begin watching very carefully and set up a sting to catch legislaters accepting bribes from competing gambling interests. It would make more sense to pass the bill and begin collecting licensing fees and start construction. They could then pass an ethics bill to address the other issues.

EdRyan wrote on August 28, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Veto Quinn next election.

cretis16 wrote on August 28, 2012 at 4:08 pm

I wonder how all our public employees feel about QUINN, since they were such over the top supporters of him for election. This is waht you get for one party state rule.

Sid Saltfork wrote on August 28, 2012 at 4:08 pm

The state has a long history of corruption committed by both parties.  New parties are needed.   By the way; "our public employees" does not mean that they are the taxpayers' employees.  They have been played by both of the parties in the past.  They received their first union contract under Gov. Big Jim Thompson.  They saw the beginning of their pensions being stolen under Gov. Jim Edgar.  They were lied to by Gov. Blago.  They were betrayed by Gov. Quinn.  Gov. Ryan leaned on them for campaign donations.  They have seen the worst by both parties.  Now, they are being demonized by the media because a debt is owed to them.  Hopefully, no one will become a public employee in the future.  Let the public take care of themselves since they are so naive to blame the public employees for the state's problems.

bluegrass wrote on August 28, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Sid, why do you continue to lie about Jim Edgar and the pension system?  I've taken such time and care to continually post the truth.  Don't you read any of them? 

Sid Saltfork wrote on August 28, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Go easy on the lying comment.  Edgar did nothing to prevent the "skipping" of pension payments.  He was lucky that he did not end up with an inditement for fraud as his underlings did.  He was allowed to testify on camera rather than in court.  He almost flubbed that.  The role Edgar played in the lack of pension funding is debatable depending on whether it was your pension involved, or not.  I worked for Ogilvey, Kerner, Walker, Thompson, Edgar, Ryan, Blago, and Quinn.  Richard Ogilvey was the only one that I respected.  All of the others were corrupt.  Building leases, preferred contracts, campaign donations, and pay-to-play politics existed in all of their administrations.  Some will tell you that Thompson started the "skipping" on pension payments.  Others will say it was Edgar.  One thing for sure, it was the legislators of both parties.  Bluegrass; I do read your comments.  Some of them I agree with you on.  Others I take with a grain of salt.  We may agree, or disagree; but don't be calling people liars.  Understand.  

bluegrass wrote on August 28, 2012 at 4:08 pm

In almost any other state in the union, he'd go down in history as one of the worst, inconsistent leaders in our history.  In Illinois, as long as you can stay out of prison you end up 4th or 5th worst at a minimum.

Sid Saltfork wrote on August 30, 2012 at 9:08 am

Let us put this Jim Edgar hero-worship to rest.  The pension crisis of 1971 led to the State of Illinois constitutional guarantee that state pensions "shall not be diminished".  In 1995, Jim Edgar was successful in getting a pension payment plan passed by the legislature.  The essence of the plan was the backloading of increasing the required employer payment schedule.  This was essentially a "balloon mortgage".  It put off the obligations for future generations to pay for years later.  It "kicked the can down the road".  The employer, the State of Illinois, did not adequately make the employer pension payments; but the employees did with every one of their paychecks.  Since 2003, the state pension payments dropped dramatically.  Now, the debt is owed.  The employees did nothing wrong.  They pay with every paycheck their payments.  Their employer, the State of Illinois, did not. 

Now; the employees, and the retirees, are being demonized by the media as the culprits.  The media fails to mention that newspapers receive a tax break over $30,000,000.00 for "paper, and ink".  Add that to the tax breaks other corporations receive under legislation passed for "campaign donations", and votes.  Understand that the corporate leaders support the Chicago Commercial Club, the Chicago Civic Federation, the Illinois Policy Institute, and the State of Illinois Chamber of Commerce.  Those mouthpieces, and spin doctors portray the public employees as the culprits behind the pension debt.  The media in their self interest propagandize the non-facts.

Now, Jim Edgar portrays himself as an honorable, elder statesman.  His hands are still dirty with insider deals when he was governor.  He should tend his race horses; and be relieved that he was not convicted of corruption as his successors Ryan, and Blago were. 

bluegrass wrote on August 30, 2012 at 1:08 pm

It's not hero worship to tell the truth. 

Edgar and the only republican lead house in the last 39 years passed the only legislation that did NOT kick the can down the road.  Madigan and the dems decided to ignore it.  Whatever problems Edgar had with leases and other nonsense have absolutely nothing to do with the pension funding legislation.  You are wrong to write that they kicked the can down the road.  They passed meaningful, realistic legislation that attempted to slowly increase the funding levels each year for 25 years, until it would be fully funded.  Do you think that the State of Illinois would have had yet another credit downgrade had we stuck to that plan?  My guess is that we would not. 

It seems to me the issue most important to you is pensions, and yet you continually trash the one Governor that took the funding of pensions seriously.  You always write "both parties are corrupt," but then really only trash republicans, who are the only party taking the pension problem seriously.

It's okay though.  We'll just watch as the Shadow Governor Mike Madigan, Dum-Dum Quin, Naomi Jacccckobson and Big Mike Frerichs all have meetings and give tax breaks to failing companies while raising our taxes and vetoeing bills that would create jobs and revenue, all while the state continues it's downward spiral towards into bankruptcy.  That seems like a much more solid plan than that 95 legislation. 




Sid Saltfork wrote on August 30, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Both parties are corrupt.  One of the new options being considered for "pension reform" is just what Jim Edgar did in the past.  The problem back then, and now, is the same.  Money that should be paid into the pension systems by the employer, the State of Illinois, is diverted to corporate tax breaks, community grants, and other pork barrel spending.  The only way for Illinois to get out of it's financial mess is to stop spending on non-essential needs, raise taxes, and pay the debts.  Yes, it will hurt all of us for a while.  By non-essential needs; I mean park district recreational centers, water features for pools, baseball field lights, dolphin pool liners, ramps for religious institutions, signs, and corporate tax breaks.  It is an austerity budget for necessary road repair, public safety, public health, education, and other necessities.  I am retired; and no retired person regardless of their income source pays the state income tax.  We need to be taxed also.  The tax breaks need to go away for corporations.  There needs to more of a spotlight put on the legisalators, and governor regarding their "campaign donations".   Without doing this, the state will continue to sink into debt.  States cannot go bankrupt due to their ability to raise taxes, and collect other revenues.  The only way out is stopping the spending; and ending the corruption by both parties.

bluegrass wrote on August 30, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Park districts and swimming pools make up a tiny fraction of the state budget.  These discretionary spending line itmes on a state level, just the same as the national level, aren't the budget breakers.  I'm not saying that I think all discretionary special projects are okay with me.  But the reality is that at both levels of government the budget breakers are entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and pension payments and state sponsored health care payments.

No financial problem that has been caused by decades of underfunding can be fixed in one year.  Problems like this can only be addressed by a managed, measured, disciplined approach, and they also take time.  You fault Edgar for passing and sticking to the only real plan other than ignoring the problem.

Sid Saltfork wrote on August 30, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Sorry to burst your bubble; but pension payments are not an entitlement program.  Pensions are not an entitlement that can be cancelled.  They are a state debt that is owed; and protected by the state constitution, and contract law.  I agree with you that "it takes a managed, measured, disciplined approach, and they take time"; but that has not happened in the past.  The recent attempt for "pension reform" disregards the state constitution, and contract law for another promise to make required employer pension payments.  Just another promise that was the same promise made over, and over again.  The state has nothing to do with Medicare, and Social Security.  That is a federal promise that is being made again.  Two years ago; your "discretionary spending line items" added up to a $31 Billion pork barrel bill which was passed by the legislature, and approved by the governor of the time.  That $31 Billion would have paid down much of the state's debts.  It was used to get campaign donations, and votes.  The state howls that it is broke; but it keeps giving out community grants, and corporate tax breaks like Sears and others. 

bluegrass wrote on August 31, 2012 at 2:08 pm

My bubble has not been burst.  I did not define pension payments as entitlement programs, I called entitlement programs AND pension/health care payments budget busters.  But thank you for your concern of my bubble, nonetheless.


Sid Saltfork wrote on September 01, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Odd that you consider Social Security, Medicare, and pensions "budget busters"?  Citizens did not have any choice about paying into those programs.  Now in their elderly years; they expect to utilize for retirement what they paid into all of the years.  However, people like you call them "budget busters".  The federal government used the Social Security money for other things.  The state government did not fund the state's portion into the pension systems. You seem to want the slate wiped cleaned by cancelling the debts owed to the people who paid into the programs with every paycheck.  I call that theft.  It is pure greed sponsored by the wealthiest citizens that call for the theft.  If changes are to be made, that is fine; but don't steal from those who now depend on the programs that they spent their working lives paying into.

bluegrass wrote on September 02, 2012 at 9:09 am

Sid, democrats always miss the point about.  You write "you seem to want the slate wiped clean."  I would challenge you to back to any post I have ever written and find where I wrote that I wanted to do away with Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, or the state pension system.  My point is, and has always been, that entitlement programs created by the government become shiny, fat new sources of revenue for government to spend more and more and more money.  They use these programs, like the state pension system, to buy votes from their constituents (unions in this case) by promising them something they can't deliver on, spending the money buying new votes, and them blaming republicans for being "evil" when the problem needs to be repaired (or scaled back in this case.)  Republicans on a national level also share blame for writing IOU's to Social Security and spending money on what they consider important.  All of these programs become huge, giant, piles of unfunded liabilities.  Now the cookie jar is empty, and we need real solutions to fix them, and what did the democrats do?  They passed Obamacare, which will effectively squeeze the private insurance market out of business, and become the biggest entitlement program in the history of the world.  What do people say to people like Paul Ryan who are attmpting to come up with some kind of sustainable financial solution to Medicare?  I think we all know the answer to that.  

You can call this theft if you want, but technically it is not illegal.  If they pass legislation making it legal, it happens.  What "changes" do you recommend?  My changes involve means testing for Medicare and Social Security, and trying to find a solution in the private insurance market for the problem of Medicare.  I would also recommend that the state pension system be transitioned into a 401K system like every other retirement system has done.  Pensions and health care broke GM and Chrysler, Social Security and Medicare are breaking the federal government, and pension and health care are breaking the state of Illinois.  Defined benefits are a thing of the past, period.

Oh, and I would consider a tax hike, across the board, IF we had some kind of balanced budget amendment in place.  Can the wealthiest among us afford to pay more in taxes, yes they can.  Should about half the people in this country pay zero in income taxes, they absolutely should not.  I would also favor some kind of process where people actually have to write a check to the United State Treasury.  I know it's a probably a political impossibility, but every taxpayer, even at the lowest level, should have to write a check for at least $20 to the United States Treasury, just for the symbolism of it. 




Sid Saltfork wrote on September 02, 2012 at 11:09 am

For you; it is always democrats, and republicans.  One, or the other has to be the choice.  Many of us feel disdain for both parties.  It is time to change the American political system.  Social Security, Medicare, and pensions can be delivered on; and the promises can be kept.  I agree with you about the changes, and transitions except on retroactive legislation making it legal.  Any legislation passed to make the debt owed disappear is retroactive legislation.  No court will agree to that.  It would violate the State of Illinois Constitution, and contract law.  Yes, changes can be made for going forward; but not backward.  Austerity in spending, and taxing will not be popular; but it will get the nation, and the state out of debt.  The "cookie jar" is not empty.  The problem is that the cookies are given out to those who do not need them, or should not qualify for them.  Services to illegal aliens, and corporate welfare eat up the majority of the cookies.  Your right.  The cookies get votes, and campaign donations.  The tax code needs reform.  I hate to say it; but retired people should pay state income taxes also.  Community grants from the state need to be stopped.  Tax breaks for the corporations need to be stopped, and cancelled.  Finally, term limits for legislators need to be put in place. All of this will not happen though.  The two parties will not allow it.  It is time for a third, fourth, or more parties to form, and take control.