Casino Revenue Debate Continues

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UPDATE: ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissy says he’s not backing down in his fight to take more casino revenue from surrounding towns. In fact, he says despite back-lash coming from some local leaders, he remains confident he’s asking for a fair share.

The mayor says he would like to sit down with local leaders to come up with an agreement, saying the public debate between lawmakers is something that is typically negotiated behind closed doors. Morrissey says his controversial proposal announced during yesterday’s press conference didn’t hurt the city’s chances of getting a new casino.

“Springfield has an expertise of people who don’t get along so what they are seeing here in Rockford, frankly they’re accustom to,” said the Mayor.

State Senator Dave Syverson says now is the time to get along saying although he backs the 50/50 split between Rockford and Winnebago County, he’s not opposed to an amendment. He says that’s not the issue. The problem now is getting regional leaders to compromise on where that revenue will go.

You may remember, the mayor is requesting a 70/30 split with the 30% going to both Winnebago and Boone County projects. He says if that’s not possible, he wants State Representative Chuck Jefferson to introduce an amendment to a House Bill that would allow local governments to debate the issue.

“Negotiations shouldn’t be aired out in the media, they need to sit down and talk about the plus and minuses and negotiate all that we do with the other pieces we work on,” said Morrissey. “I don’t think our press conference did anything to hurt the chances of the bill ultimately being passed, it has its own challenges dealing with the ones it had the last two times,” the mayor continued.

If there is not an agreement in place, Syverson says an amendment can be made later.

ROCKFORD (WIFR) – The city of Rockford is getting aggressive in its fight to win a larger percentage of casino revenue, that’s if the gaming bill on the table in Springfield is signed into law.

It’s a bold counter offer to what’s in the gaming legislation that passed the Senate earlier this month. Right now, the bill calls for a fifty-fifty revenue split between the City of Rockford and Winnebago County, but Rockford is proposing a 70-30 split.

This would mean that 70% of revenue would go to the city of Rockford for however they see fit and 30% would go to RMAP, a regional body that includes Winnebago and Boone counties. Mayor Morrissey claimed in today’s news conference that Rockford deserves more than 50% of the split because Rockford has more than 50% of the problems in the county.

The administration concedes that Rockford has 54% of the county’s population, but they also point out Rockford has 68% of all county residents who are in poverty, 69% of workers who use public transportation, 78% of students on free or reduced lunch, and 70% of foreign born county residents who need special services.

Mayor Morrissey said Representative Chuck Jefferson is behind the plan could introduce an amendment to the casino bill before it goes to the House floor for a vote.

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