Ill. court throws out liquor taxes, video gambling

Reporting from Sean Crawford, Illinois Public Radio also used in this report.

An Illinois appellate court has thrown out legalized video gambling and higher taxes on liquor and candy that were supposed to fund a $31 billion state construction plan.

The court ruled the 2009 law violated the state Constitution's prohibition on bills that deal with more than one subject.

The justices ruled that other legislation creating the statewide construction plan was linked to it so should be voided too.

The taxes took effect in September 2009. Gov. Pat Quinn's office plans to appeal the ruling to the Illinois Supreme Court.

The unanimous court decision was a victory for a liquor distributorship headed by Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz, which sued the state soon after the law passed in 2009.  

The court ruling also strikes down provisions that led to a private manager hired to run the state's lottery and the legalization of video poker machines in bars and restaurants.

Robyn Ziegler is a spokesperson for the Illinois Attorney General who is handling the case for the state.

"The Attorney General's office will be filing a motion for stay tomorrow and we'll pursue an appeal as soon as possible," Ziegler said.

If the high court grants a stay, it would allow the state to continue collecting and spending money related to the law while the case is reviewed.