State: No casino money for suburbs during budget impasse

  • Elgin won't receive its share of gambling taxes from the Grand Victoria Casino as long as the state does not have a budget, state officials say.

    Elgin won't receive its share of gambling taxes from the Grand Victoria Casino as long as the state does not have a budget, state officials say. Daily Herald File Photo

 
 
Updated 7/29/2015 6:42 PM

Cities that host casinos won't get their latest shares of the taxes that come from gambling losses until Illinois has a full budget in place, state Comptroller Leslie Munger's office says.

Earlier, Gov. Bruce Rauner's office said towns that host video gambling in bars and restaurants wouldn't get their cuts of that tax money while there's no approved state spending plan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Now, Munger spokesman Rich Carter says the comptroller agrees with Rauner's take on video gambling and says casinos are in the "same situation."

Carter said Wednesday the state doesn't have the authority to send payments from July and later to cities like Elgin, Aurora and Des Plaines while the budget impasse continues. He said the local tax money would go out eventually, once a budget is approved.

"It's just a matter of when," he said.

Similarly, Carter says the office will look into whether the same applies to local taxes from Arlington International Racecourse.

The state budget Rauner vetoed included $345,000 in money for local governments from horse racing taxes, so that money could be delayed, too, until a spending plan is in place.

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The state still can pay bills from before July 1.

Casino taxes on gamblers' losses have declined sharply in the last eight years but can still provide big money to the cities that host the gambling palaces.

Last month, the local share of taxes for the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin was $817,858, according to state records. For the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, the June share -- split several ways among multiple towns -- was $2,046,720. For the Hollywood Casino in Aurora, the amount was $574,136.

Carter said it isn't clear how far behind the state is on sending out the money.

State Rep. Marty Moylan, a Des Plaines Democrat, said the payment delays are "hogwash." The law sets out how much towns should get from casino taxes, so the budget shouldn't be an impediment.

"It has nothing to do with the budget," Moylan said.

Over the past few months, almost everything with state government has been tied to the budget, such as state employees' paychecks, lawmakers' pay raises and the pro-business proposals Rauner wants Democrats to approve.

Lawmakers are set to meet again next week, but no compromise plans have been presented by either party.

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