Many Downstate lawmakers refuse to support aid for Chicago transit unless it is accompanied by new construction projects across Illinois. That, in turn, requires a deal on the notoriously complex issue of gambling.Let's see what happens. I'm under absolutely no illusions that this will solve the problems of capital spending, transit funding or even education. I don't think you should be either.
Two top House Democrats who introduced Madigan's plan at a Chicago news conference argued it was the catalyst for a resolution.
"This is the linchpin that's going to drive everything," said Rep. Bob Molaro, D-Chicago. "This is the real deal."
The House will meet next Monday to consider the proposal, Madigan said in a letter to lawmakers.
The new proposal includes many of the elements that already passed the Senate in September, including a huge, land-based casino in Chicago and thousands more slot machines at Illinois' nine existing riverboats.
Madigan's plan also calls for another new riverboat casino and reissuing Illinois' 10th casino license, which has been tied up in legal limbo since it was approved for Rosemont in 1999. The Senate-backed plan called for creating two new licenses.
The speaker also wants 3,600 gambling positions at the state's five horse racing tracks, something the Senate idea did not include.
Both the Senate and the Madigan proposals call for a 70-30 split of new gambling money between construction and education, but Cross said there is no agreement yet on how to divide up the education portion.
Other possible roadblocks include how many hundreds of millions of dollars to charge the city of Chicago for the right to own a mega-casino, how to divide up ownership for minorities and women in the new casino licenses and how to restructure the Illinois Gaming Board that regulates casinos.