Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has stated it loud and clear in his appearance at the City Club of Chicago last Monday; he will not sign a gambling expansion bill in Illinois unless lawmakers come up with a comprehensive bill for pension reforms. The Illinois governor likened the gambling bill to a “shiny object” that detracts attention to the State’s growing pension-fund deficit problem.
Although Governor Quinn took notice of the ethical reforms and changes in the oversight of the proposed Chicago-owned casino, he wants assurance that if the city does get a casino, its share of revenues should focus on the critical financial issues concerning education. The State governor is not keen on Mayor Emmanuel’s promise to use the city’s gambling revenues for school infrastructures and modernization.
Governor Quinn is optimistic that the House and the Senate will resolve their differences of opinions and proposed measures for pension reforms, before the legislature adjourns on May 31. This is with reference to the pension measures sponsored by House Speaker Michael Mulligan, which brings a promise of bringing the state as much as $150 billion in savings in a span of 30 years, as opposed to Senate President John Cullerton’s measure that poses only a third of such savings.
In a related interview with the Chicago Sun-Times also this week, Governor Quinn clearly stated that he wants the Illinois Gaming Board to have full authority over regulating the proposed Chicago casino and all other gambling expansion plans for the city. He referred to Chicago City’s past scandals, as examples of why it is not sensible at all, to give the city government regulatory authority over its gambling industry.