Illinois House passes casino legislation pushed by Mayor Lightfoot

Saturday 23rd May 2020

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- The Illinois House on Saturday passed legislation pushed by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot to change the tax structure for a casino in the city.

The legislation would also extend from two to six years the amount of time casino owners would have to make a reconciliation payment. The Chicago Tribune reported that the legislation also delays by a year, until July 1, 2021, the time by which gaming applicants must pay license fees.

The measure now moves to the Senate.

"The idea is to make this work for Chicago so we can fund the vertical capital, put people to work, not only for Chicago but for everywhere in the state of Illinois," said sponsoring Rep. Bob Rita, a Blue Island Democrat. "This is good for everyone for jobs and development - having a Chicago casino be real."

As of late Saturday afternoon, the Illinois House had not yet passed a budget for the next year. But the House is poised to consider a $42.64 billion operating budget for next year, a 6.8% increase over current spending, that relies heavily on money from the federal government.

The coronavirus pandemic that prompted Gov. J.B. Pritzker to issue a statewide stay-at-home order left businesses across the state closed. Between that and the 1 million Illinois residents out of work by the pandemic, lawmakers say the state will have just under $37 billion in revenue. As a result, lawmakers will look for Washington to fill the $5.8 billion hole in the budget.

Another budget proposal awaits Senate action. The two chambers must agree on a single outline.

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