Chicago Senate Approves Casino Plan 42-41, COVID-19 Relief Budget Plan During Special Session

Chicago Senate Approves Casino Plan 42-41, COVID-19 Relief Budget Plan During Special Session
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Illinois General Assembly approved a Chicago casino plan, has been on the table for almost a decade, and a $41 billion “maintenance” budget plan that relies on loans and the assistance of the federal government, on Saturday night. The budget, signed during a special session, is allocated for use on COVID-19 relief.

Senate approves casino plan 42-14

The casino plan 42-14 gained the approval of the Illinois Senate and is scheduled to proceed to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office. The go signal for the casino, sought by previous administrations, is a massive achievement for Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

Sen, Bill Cunningham, D-Chicago, sponsored the bill. The senator said that Illinois’ capital programs would gain around $45 million of upfront payments from licensing fees before the casino’s opening.

The state is also entitled to a reworked reconciliation fee of $700 million. The senator said that the Chicago casino would provide hundreds of millions of dollars over the next handful of years, offering over a billion dollars to the state’s capital program.

The lawmakers argue that the revenue from the casino will help fund the city’s services. Moreover, plans are now in place in order to fix the city’s tax rate structure.

The plan approved by the Senate also extends the fee payment of all casinos for up to six years. The lawmakers believe that this will allow the casinos to survive the pandemic. Casinos are pleading that they can no longer sustain their operations because of lockdown orders and social distancing protocols.

Much of the support came from the Republican Party. It comes as no surprise as it is these lawmakers and party that have pushed the adoption of this proposal for years now.

The new measure also added technical changes for the Danville casino and tackled issues involving video poker machines at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield and the DuQuoin State Fair.

Lawmakers reworked provisions in spending plan

Legislators spend most of the minutes of the meeting discussed essential provisions in the state’s $41 billion spending plan. The house heated up during a discussion of the budget implementation plan just after midnight.

One Republican lawmaker said that the special session and budget plan went well as planned. At times when most of the people in Illinois are demanding for relief packages to pan out the pandemic, it appears that these politicians have something else in mind.

Chicago’s Greg Harris, Senate House Majority Leader, said that the plan might not be the world’s best budget, but at least there is a budget. He added that it is an exciting experience to be lectured by some people who, for two years, let another governor run the bill with zero budget and running up a $17 billion backlog of bills.

The Democrats argue that the proposed spending plan is a great relief that will bring aid to people during this pandemic. However, on the other side of the aisle, Republicans claim that this is just a simple act of power grabbing in an attempt to control billions of funding from the federal government.

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