Mayor Lori Lightfoot in Springfield to push for rework of tax formula for Chicago casino

SPRINGFIELD (WLS) -- Mayor Lori Lightfoot made her pitch to lawmakers in Springfield for help reworking legislation for a Chicago casino before the fall veto session wraps up Thursday.

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Mayor Lightfoot joined House Speaker Mike Madigan in a meeting Tuesday with the Democratic caucus to present her plan for reworking the gaming bill. The changes are needed because a consultant said the 72 percent effective tax rate in the current bill would make it impossible to attract investors because they could not make enough profit.

"We feel like things are moving forward in a positive direction but we've got to get the language finalized and get it to the respective chambers so that legislators can see what the outlines of the legislation look like," Lightfoot said.

"The focus was on the casino issue and how we can make a Chicago casino work and how we can make it thrive, because again without those revenues we're not going to be able to do those capital projects that are so long overdue," said State Rep. Ann Williams, D-Chicago.

The mayor also had meetings planned with Governor JB Pritzker, who promised to work to make a Chicago casino become a reality.

"It's good for the city, it's good for the state, so we will be working very hard to try to get something through," Gov. Pritzker said. "There is still some negotiation discussion going on, but I am hopeful that over the next three days we will be able to get it through."

The key will be in the details of the mayor's plan.

"We will have some different tax rates but I think people want to independently verify does the math work out, how much revenue would that bring in and will that cause us to cut the capital plan, holding level, or what," said State Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago.

The mayor said she feels like she has made progress, and that the votes will be Wednesday on her gaming bill proposals. She did not provide details of her plan for changing the tax structure.

She also said coming down here is part of the long-term effort to build relationships, so regardless of what happens with the casino, she still feels like this trip was worth it.
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