SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (IRN) - As the state’s capital plan remains in limbo in the state Supreme Court, some lawmakers are planning some big changes.
Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) introduced a trio of bills Wednesday afternoon. One would impose a cigarette tax increase, another revises the plan’s funding sources – leaving out video gambling, and the third bill authorizes implementation of the funding.
All three measures passed out of committee on a strict party line vote, but the first two measures failed to make it to the full floor for a vote. Cullerton’s spokeswoman said they did not have enough support to pass.
Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (D-Lemont) is angry Cullerton is “tinkering” with the plan, when she feels it doesn’t need tinkering.
“I think this is his way of saying, I don’t like the deal, and now I have an opportunity, and I’m going to undercut it and change it, and to heck with everyone else,” she lamented. “Too bad to everyone who invested because my agenda is more important than theirs.”
But Cullerton, who was never a fan of video gambling in the first place, defended his decision to leave it out of the revised plan.
“We haven’t gotten one penny from the video gambling because of bureaucratic bungling. We do not have one penny after two years of passing that bill from video gambling,” he explained.
Radogno and other Senate Republicans think any changes to the capital plan, if any are even needed, should wait for the Supreme Court to make its ruling regarding the constitutionality of the plan. It was recently called into question by Blackhawks owner and liquor distributor Rocky Wirtz.
Cullerton says the proposed $1 per pack cigarette tax increase would help supplement liquor tax revenue, as well as a potential eradication of video gambling.
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