Thursday, October 27, 2005

Don't Bet on It

So we just got done with Rep. John Bradley's bill that would eliminate riverboat gaming in Illinois. After what was actually some interesting debate, the bill passed 67-42-7. Now I have a lot of respect for John but at the end of the day, I think that there's more going on here than even John may realize.

The reality is that we can't and won't blow a $700 million dollar hole in the budget. Back in 1989, the Legislature made a decision that would lead to us becoming dependent upon gaming revenues. And sure enough, that's now where we find ourselves. So any talk of eliminating riverboats without pointing to an alternative revenue stream has to strike one as somewhat disingenuous.

So what's really going on? I'm not sure, but one scenario could be that there will be an effort, not to eliminate riverboat gaming, but to void out the existing licenses in order to start over, auction off licenses, and actually wind up with an expansion of gaming. Given the millions of dollars invested by the license owners, you have to think that the litigation that is sure to result will make the Emerald stuff pale by comparison.

Obviously I'm just speculating about this scenario, but I don't think that I'm too far off base. I am sure that there will be more to come.


At October 27, 2005 at 3:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if this is just a way to keep Emil from expanding gambling...a vote in the House would create a lot of flip-floppers would it not.

BTW..major stones on Bradley huh?

At October 27, 2005 at 3:13 PM, Blogger Hon. John Fritchey said...

It would absolutely put a number of folks in an untenable position. And yes, while I think that this is an awkward way to accomplish what seems to be the Speaker's end goal, I still fully respect Bradley and his sincerity on his bill.

At October 27, 2005 at 3:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As do I, keep up the good work John.

At October 27, 2005 at 8:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kudos to both of the Johns:

1) To John Bradley, for making a good and heartfelt case against one of the unsavory revenue streams that together form a murky river of state revenues in Illinois, and

2) To John Fritchey, for explaining the bigger picture: We need alternatives to these unsavory streams, before we can dry them up as they richly deserve.

Until we muster the brains and the guts to beef-up our income tax, we're stuck with such stupidity as riverboat gambling, and its ill effects on families and communities who deserve better.

At October 27, 2005 at 9:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like the AP is confirming your suspicions.

At October 28, 2005 at 8:36 AM, Blogger Angry Jolietan said...

John, if there was such a guaranteed "replacement" stream of revenue to replace gaming revenue, would you have voted for the bill?

As someone whose community has greatly benefitted from gaming revenue, I am trying to understand your decision to vote "present." Thanks.

At October 28, 2005 at 9:56 AM, Blogger Hon. John Fritchey said...


My present vote was a result of my not believing there to be a real issue on the table. As I said, there is no way that we would blow that big a hole in the budget, Sen. Jones' comments today are in line with mine. So if there is a different plan in mind, bring it to us all at once. I had no intention of taking an unnecessary position.

At the end of the day, I find it hard (almost impossible) to believe that towns like yours are going to lose their boats. If there are going to be discussions about increased revenues or stakeholder positions for the state, then they can have those discussions and bring us a final concept upon which to vote.

At October 28, 2005 at 9:18 PM, Anonymous Fritchey the Third said...

Is there a way y'all could send those boats to Texas? Along with the $700 mil of course.
We could do wonders with that kind of money maker.

At October 28, 2005 at 11:08 PM, Blogger Amy Allen said...

rRep. Fritchey,
Trenchant commentary, sir. If it were to pass the Senate, do you expect the gov. to sign it, or not? Could he, meaningless as it may be, afford to, in an election year, after the gaming tax hikes? Or, is he playing his cards close to his chest?

At October 29, 2005 at 12:10 AM, Blogger Hon. John Fritchey said...

In order to pass the Senate, it has to get called in the Senate. I just don't see it happening.

At October 29, 2005 at 10:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This Bill is stupid.

If it were to pass the States of Indiana, Missouri and Iowa, would benifit.

Just because you ban riverboat gaming in Illinois it will not stop people like me who on occasion like to go to the boats and gamble from gambling. We will just cross the river. It is entertainment for many of us.

Illinois loss will be these other state gain.

This is a stupid bill and a waste of time. This is the kinda thing that goes on in the GA and people look at and say, what the H are those men and women up there doing.

At October 31, 2005 at 1:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the previous poster...

Don't worry, this bill is not going anywhere. Look at the rest of the story. This bill has never been intended to pass out of both chambers and be signed into law. This is pure politics.

BTW, anything the Speaker is behind, be rest assured there is a reason behind it. MJM never wastes his time.


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