They can "get 'er done" for gambling interests, but what about citizens?
A piece in the Dispatch/Argus today shows that while Pat Verschoore and Mike Jacobs will jump like scalded dogs to swing into action and "fix" problems threatening to impact Jumers Casino Corporation, making it a top priority and devoting enough energy to get it done, when it comes to ensuring that local residents get a slice of the pie, things aren't as optimistic.
While Sen. Mike Jacobs practically breaks his arm patting himself on the back for getting a bill passed in the Senate that fixes a legal technicality that threatened to hold up Casino Rock Island's desired move to the pristine wetlands near I-280 and SR-92, Illinois counties with gambling operations in their area are now asking for a little slice off the top and being told not to hold their breath.
Rock Island County Board chairman Jim Bohnsack, D-Edgington, and board member Phil Banaszek, D-Moline, met with officials from Kane, Will, St. Clair, Tazewell and Madison counties in Springfield earlier this week to discuss an amendment to a gaming bill that would give counties 1 percent of their respective casinos' adjusted gross revenue.Vershoore and Jacobs also met with the county's officials in Springfield.
That 1%, based on last year's figures, would translate into $383,000 much needed dollars a year being pumped into Rock Island County coffers.
But the prospects for getting this done sound dismal. In the legislators favor, it must be said that the county officials were slow to get off the dime, and are asking for the proposal very late in the game making it more unlikely that any action will be seen this year. And with anti-gambling fundie influence being what it is in the House, passing a gambling bill is going to be even tougher in the future.
"The gaming bill we had isn't going to happen," Rep. Verschoore said, "but things are changing by the minute."It appears that the county officials came up with a bright idea, but a little late in the game. If this needed revenue is lost, they must take at least partial responsibility.
Getting a gambling bill passed will doubtless be tough. Verschoore and Jacobs have proved to be willing to work hard for Casino R.I. They've been critical in helping Casino R.I. get theirs. Now can they manage to get a gambling bill through that includes some wider public benefit from their efforts?