In Illinois, state legislators are reportedly due to begin deliberations early next month on legislation that could see the border cities of Rockford and Danville granted casino licenses while permitting the state’s horseracing tracks to operate slots.
According to a report from the Rockford Register Star newspaper, the legislation, which would additionally grant a casino license to Lake County and the nearby metropolis of Chicago, has been co-sponsored by Illinois State Senators Dave Syverson and Terry Link and is part of a package of ten bills that has a legitimate chance of passing because it contains budget and governmental reforms sought by both Democratic and Republican representatives.
“Each bill has a poison pill in it,” Republican Syverson told the newspaper. “So if one doesn’t pass, none of them do. The reason for that is that there are things in these bills that everybody hates and things everybody likes. You’re not going to get Democrats to support worker compensation reforms on their own and you’re not going to get Republicans to support a tax hike on its own but if you put all of these things together, the hope is that you force a vote on all of it and we can move forward.”
The newspaper reported that the gaming portion of the proposed legislation, which could also see south Chicago suburbs such as Orland Park, Oak Lawn or Chicago Heights granted casino licenses, would call for 5% of any revenues from a Rockford gaming establishment to be split among local area governments with 70% of these going to the host city itself. Twenty percent of the remaining amount would be earmarked for Winnebago County while the balance would be equally split between the neighboring communities of Machesney Park and Loves Park.
Crafted into one giant legislative package by Illinois State Senate President John Cullerton in partnership with his Republican counterpart Christine Radogno, the suggested legislation would reportedly also introduce a stop-gap budget and allow the state to spend money through to June 30 while moreover permitting authorities to sell bonds worth $7 billion in order to help pay down Illinois’ $10 billion backlog of bills.
The Rockford Register Star reported that the legislative package due to be considered by the Illinois State Senate would additionally increase the state’s income tax from 3% to 4.95%, institute minor pension, school funding and worker compensation reforms, establish a phased increase in the minimum wage, launch a two-year freeze on property tax rises and make it easier for local governments to consolidate.
If passed by both houses of the Illinois General Assembly and signed into law by Republican governor Bruce Rauner, the package of bills would reportedly moreover establish term limits for legislative leaders but not rank-and-file lawmakers and make it easier for state universities and community colleges to outsource work and streamline how they buy goods and services.