Mayor Rahm Emanuel increased the pressure on Gov. Pat Quinn on Monday to sign legislation that would expand gambling in Illinois -- including a Chicago casino -- even though Quinn recently suggested Emanuel lay off because he hasn't decided whether to sign or veto the bill.
Emanuel, who says he isn't worried about spoiling his relationship with Quinn, wants the money a casino would generate to pay for major, job-creating infrastructure projects around the city, including modernizing antiquated underground water pipes that damage streets when they burst. Chicago, he said, can't count on Washington or Illinois lawmakers to come up with all the necessary money.
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"There is no other place but the casino to make the investment in Chicago's economic competitiveness," Emanuel said at a City Hall news conference touting his accomplishments as he marks his 100th day in office this week.
The bill Emanuel has lobbied Quinn to sign would add a casino in Chicago and four others around the state, with one each in Danville, Park City in Lake County, Rockford and Chicago's southern suburbs. While Emanuel is already talking about how he would spend the money Chicago might gain if it gets a casino, Quinn is still sorting out what to do.
Lawmakers fearful that Quinn might veto the measure have used a legislative maneuver to keep the bill from his desk while he has spent weeks meeting with proponents and opponents. Besides adding to the number of casinos, the measure also would expand gambling at the existing 10 casinos and add slots at racetracks.
Quinn has chastised Emanuel for trying to rush his decision.
"The notion that we're spending the money before the law is passed, I think, is putting the cart before the horse and I would urge the mayor to talk to our gaming board chairman, Judge Aaron Jaffe, because there are serious shortcomings in this law when it comes to honesty and integrity," Quinn said last week.
Quinn hasn't publicly detailed what he might accept or want changed in the gambling measure, but he has criticized it for having regulatory loopholes.
The governor's office shot back at Emanuel after the mayor made his comments Monday, pointing out that Chicago has been the recipient of infrastructure projects because of a statewide capital construction program that Quinn championed.
"Gov. Quinn does not think that the state or the city can gamble its way to prosperity. He has led with other ways to keep the region competitive and put more people to work, most notably the capital plan, which is serving as the largest infrastructure investment in city history and has provided more than $1 billion for Chicago school, road and other local projects to strengthen our economic recovery," Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said.
Emanuel isn't worried that some of their public back-and-forth about the casino will harm his working relationship with Quinn.
"Pat and I have known each for years and we'll get along. It's not whether we get along or not. It's whether we get results. That's how I measure it," Emanuel said.