In the early 1990s, Mayor Richard Daley, whom for better or worse was a visionary, presented a plan to build a major casino complex in Chicago. Governor Jim Edgar, a Republican, at the time strongly opposed the plan and it never got legislative approval. The plan was backed by Las Vegas casino developers to the tune of $2 billion. Without getting into the details of the plan, the vision was grand.
Chicago, the state’s largest city and top tourist destination would be a worthy location for a casino complex. Such a complex is the quite likely to lure outside money into the Illinois economy. With proper planning and quality legislation, a Chicago casino complex could collect far more revenue per casino than Illinois’ is used to seeing. The advantage is that Chicago is already a regional destination. A casino complex expands the attraction of the city to Midwestern travelers.
All this is not to endorse such a plan, but to commend the vision and leadership that presenting such grand plan and pursuing it requires. Governor Quinn, as governor has shown absolutely no vision and precious little leadership, which is precisely the reason the budget gap in Illinois remains.
As Illinois has sunk further into debt without solution, Governor Quinn lead from behind, allowing the legislature to conjure up piece meal legislation to address the state’s deficit problems. Where is the grand plan from the Governor? His plan doesn’t need to include gambling expansion. The most probable plan for success could very well exclude gambling. But there is no plan forthcoming.
“Make no little plans, for they have no magic to stir men’s blood.” Daniel Burnham, the great Chicago architect understood the importance of going big. Unfortunately, Illinois’ gambling legislation over the years has added up to little plans. Legislation that isn’t working for Illinois citizens needs repeal. In its place, the state government must set forth a plan for the long term fiscal future of Illinois. During his tenure as governor of the great state of Illinois, Pat Quinn has made it clear his leadership is lacking, his vision is nil. Illinoisans’ big plan for 2014 must be: “new leadership, or bust!”