Tuesday, August 28, 2012

EXTRA: The long-awaited veto

When the General Assembly gave its approval last year to a measure that would allow for the creation of a casino in Chicago, four other casinos across the state and other assorted opportunities, that bill ultimately got stuck in a drawer.

It never was sent to Gov. Pat Quinn for approval. The Legislature’s leaders wanted to work out a side deal with the governor, but it never happened.

WELL, THE ILLINOIS Legislature gave it a second shot this year, voting to approve a bill that adds to the amount of gambling opportunities across the state.

And finally, on Tuesday, Quinn got a chance to express his opinion.


A big fat veto.

QUINN USED HIS veto authority to reject the gambling expansion bill. And what is most notable about it is that it is really un-notable.

The reasons that Quinn gave for rejecting the bill are the same reasons he has been spouting out all along. Which means this is an outcome that should have been perceived all along.

And the General Assembly seems to have rightfully been justified in its bizarre actions last year. Although all they seemed to have done was delayed the outcome for a year.

Which really means that the status quo of recent decades will remain in place. Because House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, has said it is unlikely the General Assembly can get together enough opposition to override the gubernatorial veto.

I’M SURE THEY will make the token effort to dump on Quinn when the Legislature reconvenes in November. But it most likely means that, come spring of 2013, there will be yet more government rhetoric about the desire for more casinos across the state.

We’ll hear about how desperate our government is for the share of the proceeds that it can command as a tax.

And we’ll hear all about how those devious sharks over in the land of Hoosiers (a.k.a., Indiana) are costing Illinois so much money by attracting our residents to those casinos in places just across State Line Road like Hammond, Gary and East Chicago.

Which is why I found it interesting that Quinn, in his veto message, said there’s one thing that Indiana does that he’d want Illinois to do as well – a ban on campaign contributions from the managers and owners of casinos.

“WE MUST PREVENT campaign contributions by gaming operators from infecting our political process,” Quinn wrote.

Although considering how strong the itch is in some legislators to have more casinos in Illinois, I’d say the “infection” has already occurred. Inoculation may well be futile by this point in time.

I also found it amusing to learn that Quinn was upset that the oversight of a casino in Chicago proper would be different from the oversight by the Illinois Gaming Board that applies to all other casinos.

“Permitting the Chicago casino to operate without the appropriate oversight of the Gaming board is not good for Illinois,” Quinn wrote.

WHICH WOULD PROBABLY be appreciated in those segments of the state outside the Chicago metro area, except that many of those people think so low of Quinn these days that he won’t get many bonus points.

Although it will tick off that segment of Chicago that fully expects any Chicago casino to be operated differently because it will be on a larger scale than any of the existing operations that began their lives as riverboats offering cruises while people gambled their money away.

Which means my guess is that all day today, there are going to be all kinds of people taking the name of Quinn in vain.

Then again, that has been the life story for the Mighty Quinn. So what else is new?


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