Better Government Association Hosts Illinois Gaming Expansion Debate, Featuring Rep. Lou Lang, Others

(Chicago, IL) – Illinois’ Better Government Association will sponsor a debate tonight on Illinois gaming legislation sitting on Governor Pat Quinn’s desk between high-profile proponents and opponents, including Illinois House Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang (D-Skokie).

Moderated by Andy Shaw, President and CEO, of the watchdog group, two panels square off against each other at the Union League Club of Chicago on Wednesday evening for two-hours.

Lang, who sponsored the legislation, and Michael J. Mini, Director of Governmental Relations, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce face opponents Rev. Phillip L. Blackwell, Senior Pastor, at the First United Methodist Church of the Temple and Anita Bedell, Executive Director, Illinois Church Action on Alcohol & Addiction Problems.

“Illinois legalized gaming decades ago. That debate is over,” said Lang. “The question before us is this: is the state going to fully the develop its economic potential of a key tourism sector to save or create 90,000 jobs and bring $1.5 billion to the state treasury?”

Quinn is weighing whether to sign or veto the legislation which include a casino for Chicago, a top economic priority of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

The Union League Club is located at 65 West Jackson Blvd. The debate will be held in the Crystal Room, 5th Floor. Registration begins at 5:00 P.M.; the program is 5:30 to 7:00 P.M. An audience Q & A session will follow the panel discussion.

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AUDIO: Rep. Lou Lang Explains Illinois Gaming Expansion Bill During House Floor Debate

(Springfield, IL) — June 2, 2011. You want to hear more about Illinois gaming expansion? Illinois House Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang (D-Skokie) provides a full explanation of the Illinois gaming expansion legislation, Senate Bill 744, during the House floor debate on the bill.

The plan would generate $1.5 billion from upfront fees, which would be used to help pay the state’s $4.5 billion in unpaid bills, and produce $500 million annually for education and other state services, according to Lang.

Listen to Lang’s comments here:

Governor Pat Quinn, who has referred to the legislation as “top heavy”, is reviewing the measure.

Chicago Sun-Times Endorses Rep. Lou Lang’s Illinois Gaming Bill; Urges Gov. Pat Quinn to Sign

(Chicago, IL) — June 2, 2011. The Chicago Sun-Times today endorsed Illinois House Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang‘s Illinois gaming expansion legislation, backed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and urged Governor Pat Quinn to sign the bill.

Here’s the editorial:

Gov. Pat Quinn said Wednesday that he will give a bill authorizing a Chicago casino “a microscopic review.”

By all means. The bill dramatically expands gambling in Illinois, more than tripling the current number of gambling positions in the state.

The governor, like us, is unhappy about lumping in so many other gambling sites with Chicago’s, calling the bill “excessive” and “top-heavy.”

He’s absolutely right about that.

But here’s what Quinn will see when he finally gets his microscope in focus: A bill that will draw in much-needed revenue for Chicago and the state. The state is already slashing social services, education funding and threatening deep cuts to state employee pensions. Adding new revenue is one of the only ways available to soften that blow slightly, to ward off even more draconian cuts in years to come.

Read the rest here …

 

Lou Lang: Illinois Gaming Bill is “Economic Development”

(Springfield, IL) — The Illinois Senate on Tuesday approved a measure in a 30-27 vote that would allow Rockford to host one of five new casinos in the state.

“I’ve been at this job for seven years, and a casino has been discussed each of those seven years,” said Janyce Fadden, president of the Rockford Area Economic Development Council, which is one of many local partners in Rockford trying to improve the city’s economic standing.

A Rockford casino is expected to create about 1,000 jobs and bring in nearly $175 million a year to the Rockford economy in taxes, including hotel and gas tax, said Fadden.

The legislation, SB 744, would allow for new casinos, one in Rockford, Danville, Park City, Chicago and a to-be-determined location in Chicago’s south suburbs. The measure also would expand Illinois’ nine riverboats and permit the state’s horse-race tracks to install video poker or slot machines.

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