It’s the Christmas season and my wife has been watching “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
So, when I looked at the editorial illustration accompanying Thursday’s Chicago Sun-Times’ editorial endorsing the massive expansion of gambling, I recognized its inspiration.
When the euphemistically called “Riverboat” bill was passed amid outright lying on the house floor, not a single Republican voted for it.
I was so proud of House Republicans. (I was in remission at the time.)
That vote played to the Democrats stereotype of being the party of sin.
And, Democrats got a bonus by legalizing casino gambling.
They got more people who could call themselves “victims.”
Legitimately. They became addicted to gambling.
But, anyone who has any knowledge of Nevada politics knows the hold that the gambling industry has on state politics. The legislators don’t want to be overheard by anyone in Nevada, but at least one told the truth to a McHenry County resident at a legislative convention.
And, anyone with a brain knew that, in a state a corrupt as Illinois, gambling—not “gaming”—interests would end up controlling state politics.
Even House Speaker Mike Madigan has figured this out. Now, he’s for much stricter control, but has not taken that giant step and called for forbidding gambling interests from making political contributions.
Hey. He knows his followers want to be rewarded for their votes by more than a road here and a school there.
Look at who gave money to Republican legislative leaders Frank Watson and Tom Cross after the 2002 election debacle.
Look what large contributor is slotted to get slot machines at his racetrack.
How many years before slot machines are in off-track betting parlors like the between the hospital and the Catholic Church on Bull Valley Road in McHenry?
How soon until every gas station has casino slot machines inside like South Dakota?
Now we have chicken-hearted legislators who want to spend more money, but are afraid to raise taxes.
Generally, they want to spend it on good things, roads, schools, etc.
But they don’t want to see “hit pieces” in the mailbox saying they voted for a tax hike.
But, tell me.
If gas taxes increased in Illinois, would anyone notice?
The price of gasoline can go up or down 20 cents in 24 hours.
Why aren’t suburban and Downstate Republicans demanding that the sales tax on motor fuel be used to repair and widen roads? Illinois is one of the few states that levies both a motor fuel and a sales tax on gasoline. (Actually, the sales tax is on the price of the gasoline and the sales tax. A tax on a tax.)
House GOP Leader Tom Cross actually suggested using the sales tax on MFT to subsidize mass transit.
What an absurd suggestion for the leader of car driving Republican suburbanites and Downstaters!
No surprise when his 1992 legislative House classmate, now Governor Rod Blagojevich, agreed. He could figure out how vulnerable that would make anyone outside of Chicago.
So, maybe enough Democrats and Republicans are ready to cast a vote to turn Illinois into Potterville.
Even some in McHenry County, I’d be willing to bet.
Our children may still be able to hang signs above their doors saying,
“It’s a Wonderful Life,”
but they will be living in Potterville, Illinois.
= = = = =
The Shell Station Casino is is Souix City, Iowa. The “It’s a Wonderful Life” sign is above the door between our entryway, called the “Echo,” and our home. It’s there all year round. Keely Cat was interested in why I was out there when I took this picture. Chick on the photo to enlarge it if you want to see the sign better. The books on the stairs are the ones I’ve read since coming back from Disney World, where I got through 1400 pages while on the journey there and back, waiting, usually in line, and slacking off in the room trying to get rid of a bad cold.