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Rauner Talks Pivotal Issues During Peoria Campaign Stop

Peoria Public Radio/Kristin McHugh

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner touched on a number of topics including gambling expansion and term limits during a campaign stop in Peoria Thursday.

Rauner says expanding gaming options will generate millions in new revenue for the state’s troubled budget. He made the comment during a campaign stop at Keystone Steel and Wire.

State lawmakers gathered public input last month on an expanded gambling bill. The measure would create six new casinos, expand existing riverboats and allow for more video gambling winnings. It also would allow gambling at horse racing tracks.

Rauner says the added tax revenue is needed.

“We should expand the gaming opportunity here for the communities that want to have it. (If) we do that we can raise billions of dollars in new revenue without raising taxes and we can put that money into our infrastructure and schools,” says Rauner.

Proponents say gambling expansion will generate up to $1-billion in new tax revenue, but a Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability report shows that figure would only be $12-million.

It’s unlikely lawmakers will act on gaming legislation until after the election, but a hearing on legalizing fantasy and sports betting is set for October.

Meanwhile, a new poll of likely voters finds a majority believe Illinois is on the wrong track. Governor Rauner agrees.

A University of Illinois at Springfield and NPR Illinois survey reveals only 14% of the respondents say the state is moving the right direction.

Rauner touted his administration's job creation, but he says more work is needed.

“We need more union jobs. We need more factory jobs. We need to make more things here by being competitive by helping companies like Keystone grow,” says Rauner.

Rauner says he’s seeking a second term to continue his economic goals such as expanded job creation and tax reform. But he says he won’t seek a third term because he believes strongly in term limits.

Likely voters appear to agree.

The University of Illinois at Springfield/NPR Illinois survey of 717 people shows 80% support legislative term limits.

The survey was conducted between July 3 and August 15, with a plus or minus four-percent margin of error.


Kristin McHugh is an experienced radio journalist and nonprofit manager. Most recently, she served as executive director of the Peoria Area World Affairs Council.