Ill. budget plan sent to Quinn; Casino bill to Senate

Ill. budget passed; Casino progressing

May 31, 2011

AP and City Room Staff

 

Illinois lawmakers have approved  a budget that makes deep cuts to the spending proposed by Gov. Pat Quinn.

Quinn, the Senate and the Illinois House have been at odds over how much to spend in the upcoming year. On Monday night, the Senate approved a version that cuts about $2.3 billion from the budget that Quinn introduced back in February. The House had approved it earlier, so this slimmed-down budget goes to the governor's desk.

But this isn't the last word on the budget. The Senate also voted to add back about $430 million in spending, and it's not clear what the House will do with that proposal. In addition, Quinn could use his veto powers to make changes in the budget that's been sent to him.

Meanwhile The Illinois House is bucking recent history by approving a major expansion of legalized gambling. The House voted 65-50 yesterday to approve five new casinos -- including a land-based gambling house in Chicago.

The measure now goes to the Senate. Democratic Rep. Lou Lang of Skokie says the legislation would mean $1.5 billion in startup fees for the new gambling positions and $500 billion or more a year in ongoing revenue.

Gov. Pat Quinn has said he dislikes such a huge expansion. But Lang says the additional casinos would bring in money to pay overdue bills.