In Illinois and the possibility that Chicago will one day host a casino has reportedly been brought one step closure following the passage yesterday of revisions to the Midwestern state’s upcoming annual budget.
According to a Sunday report from local television broadcaster WTTW-TV, the changes were contained within House Bill 516, which was approved by the Illinois House of Representatives by a margin of 68 to 44 before being sanctioned by the compatriot Illinois State Senate via a more convincing 37 to 19 vote.
Illinois is currently home to ten riverboat casinos but legislation ratified last year is set to see this portfolio expanded via the licensing of six additional gambling-friendly establishments including one for the state’s largest city, Chicago. However, an investigation produced soon after reportedly predicted that the tax rates for such a venue in ‘The Windy City’ would make it almost impossible for the metropolis of some 2.7 million people to attract an operator.
WTTW-TV reported that Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (pictured) subsequently reacted by asking for the legislation’s proposed tax rates to be lowered despite the fact that this could see Illinois earn around $350 million less each year for use on non-road infrastructure projects. This state of affairs created an impasse that was only purportedly broken yesterday after casino proponents managed to convince lawmakers that reducing these duties could still result in annual windfalls of up to $500 million, which would be a significant boon to Illinois Governor Jay Pritzker’s planned ‘Rebuild Illinois’ capital investments program.
Lightfoot reportedly told the broadcaster the lowered tax rates contained within the newly-passed legislation has now made a Chicago casino ‘financially viable’ with her city’s share of any resulting revenues due to be set aside to support underfunded firefighter and police pension funds. She moreover purportedly stated that Cook County is set to receive 1% of the envisioned casino’s tax revenues, which will be earmarked for its criminal justice system.
Lightfoot reportedly stated…
“This moment is decades in the making and represents a critical step towards shoring up our city’s pension obligations as well as driving huge levels of infrastructure funding and fueling thousands of new jobs for all of Illinois.”
For his part and Governor Pritzker reportedly commended legislators for coming to an agreement on the revised tax rates for a Chicago casino in advance of pronouncing that he now intends to sign the alterations into law.
Reportedly read a statement from Pritzker…
“I look forward to signing this legislation that provides a reliable funding stream to our historic $45 billion Rebuild Illinois capital program and I thank the bipartisan members of the legislature as well as Mayor Lightfoot for bringing this bill across the finish line. Together, we are creating jobs and rebuilding our state.”