Quinn still at odds with lawmakers over gambling bill

November 2, 2011 6:19:50 AM PDT
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn met with legislative leaders in Chicago Tuesday. The key issue was how to keep companies likes Sears and the Chicago mercantile exchange in Illinois.

But another major issue still facing the state is the gambling bill. It was left unresolved in last week's veto session.

Now It appears the gaming issue will not be resolved during phase two of the fall legislative session that resumes next week. Governor Quinn is holding firm on how much more casino-style gambling should be allowed in Illinois.

"My interest is not to promote gambling," Quinn said. "It's not my foremost goal in Illinois. I don't think you can gamble your way to prosperity."

Ironically, the governor made that statement about gaming expansion next to a prop promoting this year's lottery ticket to benefit veterans.

Quinn left the event for a meeting with House Speaker Michael Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton, and Republican legislative leaders Tom Cross and Christine Radogno.

"I would be highly surprised if something on gaming happened between now and January," Radogno said.

Radogno said there was no discussion of the gaming expansion bill passed by the General Assembly but never sent to the governor, who disagrees with -- among other things -- its provisions to allow slot machines at horse racing tracks.

Tuesday, the governor said, if the bill was sent to his desk as passed, he would veto those parts with which he disagrees.

"If they want to send it to me, we'll be very happy to apply my framework to their bill," Quinn said.

With a stalemate on gaming, the meeting targeted other issues.

"The subject is more about economic development and jobs. That's really our focus," said Quinn.

"We really tried to focus on how we can stimulate the economy, find broad-based approach to creating some jobs," said Illinois House minority leader Rep. Tom cross.

Next week in Springfield, lawmakers might consider lowering taxes for corporations like sears and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group, and lessening the income tax burden for middle and lower income earners. Radogno said the controlling Democrats appeared concerned the income tax increases they passed earlier this year had backfired.

"I think they acknowledge we have a real problem based on the tax increase they imposed and some of the other things they have done to hurt the business environment," said Radogno.

Speaker Madigan and Senate President Cullerton were unavailable for comment on gaming expansion or possible corporate and individual tax cuts.

The Democratic leaders used the governor's private elevator or back stairwell to leave the meeting.

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