Pulling off a feat that her mayor predecessors could not accomplish, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot scored a win when Illinois legislators, on May 23, approved a Chicago casino, The Chicago Sun-Times reported.
The Illinois Senate approved the casino plan 42-14, and it will be sent to Gov. J.B. Pritzker's desk; he has indicated he will sign the measure.
Bill sponsor Sen. Bill Cunningham, D-Chicago, said the state's capital programs will get $45 million upfront in licensing fees before the casino is even opened. And the state will receive an additional $700 million in a re-worked reconciliation fee.
In a statement sent to Windy City Times, Pritzker said, "After decades of attempts to build a Chicago casino, I'm proud that by working together this administration and General Assembly has secured its future and paved a path forward for hundreds of millions of dollars annually to repair our schools, hospitals and higher education buildings across the entire state of Illinois.
"I look forward to signing this legislation that provides a reliable funding stream to our historic $45 billion Rebuild Illinois capital program, and I thank the bipartisan members of the legislature as well as Mayor Lightfoot for bringing this bill across the finish line. Together, we are creating jobs and rebuilding our state."
In a separate statement, Lightfoot said, "The Illinois state legislature has passed a bill that makes the possibility of a financially viable Chicago casino a reality. This moment is decades in the making, and represents a critical step toward shoring up our city's pension obligations, as well as driving huge levels of infrastructure funding and fueling thousands of new jobs for all of Illinois."
She then thanked "many lawmakers in both chambers" as well as "our partners in organized labor, particularly the Chicago Federation of Labor, and its president, Bob Reiter," the City Council, fellow mayors, the restaurant and hospitality industries, and Pritzker.