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updated: 5/21/2012 4:45 PM

Quinn dismisses gambling as 'shiny' distraction

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  • Gov. Pat Quinn is pushing plans to cut retirement benefits for government employees, reduce Medicaid services and raise the state cigarette tax.

      Gov. Pat Quinn is pushing plans to cut retirement benefits for government employees, reduce Medicaid services and raise the state cigarette tax.
    Associated Press file photo

 
Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. Pat Quinn says Illinois can't afford to have lawmakers distracted from crucial issues by more talk of gambling expansion.

The Chicago Democrat said leaders at the state Capitol sometimes "get distracted by shiny objects." He says that can't happen now, when government pensions and health care both need major overhauls.

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Quinn is pushing plans to cut retirement benefits for government employees, reduce Medicaid services and raise the state cigarette tax.

But some officials think a gambling expansion could ease the state's budget crisis. They want to add several casinos and install slot machines at racetracks.

Senate President John Cullerton also wants to explore Internet gambling, like online poker.

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