Lawmakers in Illinois Pass a $40 Billion Budget, Include Casino Measure

Lawmakers in Illinois Pass a $40 Billion Budget, Include Casino Measure

Illinois lawmakers have approved a $40 billion budget for the state that includes a plan to address tax rates for a casino expansion. The budget was passed during a special session on Sunday.

Extraordinary measures

The state budget was approved during an extraordinary special session of the lawmakers who now push a $40 billion state budget that focuses on spending and a plan to push casino expansion in the Chicago area. The budget relies mostly on federal funding and also maintains its funding from the existing budget. The only exception, in this case, will be of health care agencies that have been affected because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lawmakers in Illinois Pass a $40 Billion Budget, Include Casino Measure

The House voted 68-44 in favor of the budget. The Senate voted 37-19 in favor of the bill even though the Senate Republicans went against the plan and objected to a small spending increase.

The session commenced with extraordinary measures for safety. The House shifted its session to a convention center located a few blocks away from the Capitol. All lawmakers had to wear masks and go through mandatory temperature checks.

Businesses suffering in Illinois

The stay-at-home orders by Gov. J.B. Pritzker left the state’s businesses with zero revenue amidst a pandemic and also increased unemployment in the state. About 1 million Illinois residents were unemployed because of this. However, the lawmakers suggest that their revenue will still be around $37 billion. Therefore, they are expecting Washington to help fill the budgetary gaps.

The lawmakers also approved Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s plan to change the casino tax structure in the city. The state’s $45 billion capital plan will now include a gambling expansion plan with six new casinos. The Chicago casino is also a part of this plan. Some experts comment that the tax structure could make it difficult for the Chicago casino to be profitable.

However, the new structure now adds a deadline for paying casino license fees to applicants alongside a new tax structure. Blue Island Democratic Bob Rita said that they want to make the new changes work for Chicago and provide new employment. This would be useful for jobs and development in Chicago as well as Illinois.

About sherlock

Sherlock Gomes loves to write and express his views on anything related to Gaming, Gambling, & Casino. He has been covering Gaming for more than two years now.