Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel exchanged some feisty words in dueling press conferences Tuesday, suggesting that a bit of a power struggle may be festering beneath the surface of a publicly amicable working relationship.
Speaking on DePaul University's downtown campus Tuesday, Emanuel admitted that he understands Quinn's concerns with the massive casino expansion bill, but indicated that the revenue generated by a downtown casino is presently the best option to address the city's infrastructure needs -- which he estimates will cost about $7 billion, far short of what either state or federal funds are likely to provide, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. It is estimated that a downtown casino will rake in up to $140 million annually.
(Scroll down to watch Emanuel speaking of the proposed Chicago casino and the city's infrastructure.)
“The pipes, the water system, in parts of Chicago, are 100 years old,” Emanuel said Tuesday, after referencing a massive pothole that opened up and swallowed a car on the city's Northwest Side over the weekend.
But Quinn fired back at Emanuel during his own news conference at the Ford Assembly plant on city's far South Side.
"The mayor needs to check his numbers,” Quinn said, according to the Sun-Times. "Our state gives $40 million a year to the city of Chicago for maintaining highways in Chicago … We’re not going to have a situation where every community in Illinois that wants to fill its sinkholes or potholes wants a casino. I mean, come on."
While some have grown frustrated with Quinn's reluctance over the casino expansion bill and recent comments that the mayor is "putting the cart before the horse" by counting on him to approve the measure, Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson told the Chicago Tribune that the governor is "the chief executive of the state of Illinois and has to make decisions that are in the best interests of the whole state. He will stand his ground when appropriate. He's the leader of the state, and that's the approach he'll take as a leader."
She added that Quinn "wants to have a productive relationship" with the mayor. The two have met between three and five times this summer, "depending upon which side is counting," according to the Tribune.
Meanwhile, Emanuel has vowed to "not let the City of Chicago be held hostage by other people’s decisions, be that Washington, or Springfield," NBC Chicago reports.
"We can have oversight and economic growth," Emanuel continued. "What we’re lacking is job creation and economic growth … We have to invest in our future. And we'll get there. And we'll get there."
The casino expansion bill in question has yet to arrive on Quinn's desk, as it was put on a legislative hold by Senate President John Cullerton after the state's General Assembly approved it earlier this year. The governor has reportedly met with both proponents and opponents of the bill since its approval in Springfield but has publicly expressed concerns over what he has described as its regulatory shortcomings.WATCH Mayor Emanuel discuss what casino revenues would do for the city here:
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