Dave Vite, president of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association and a TEC foe, said electricity is a large expense for the group’s 20,000 stores statewide. “I just think people are starting to recognize this is about higher costs of electricity to all citizens and all businesses. And given the jobs environment in Illinois, people are having second thoughts about supporting the project,” said Vite.
The Legislature had been expected to consider a final Tenaska bill during the first portion of its fall veto session from November 16-18, but failed to do so because work on the bill had not completed. “When you engage legislators on an issue, they want to know the bill number and it’s not available,” said Phil Gonet, president, Illinois Coal Association, and a strong supporter of the project. “The bill doesn’t have a bill number yet. It’s just a slower process.” So slow, in fact, legislators were not expected to be ready to vote on the bill during the December 1-3 portion of the veto session. That meant it was likely the contentious issue would spill over into January 2011.
Michael Madigan, a Chicago Democrat and Speaker of the House of Representatives, planned to call the House into session again in early January to finish up a number of issues before the regular 2011 session starts on January 12, said Steve Brown, his spokesperson. Given the bill’s delays, Brown thought it likely the Tenaska issue would not be decided until then.