Illinois Supreme Court
4:15 pm
Tue February 1, 2011

Illinois Supreme Court stay halts capital bill ruling enforcement

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky used in this report.

According to an Illinois Supreme court stay issued today (which you can read below), the state can continue collecting higher taxes on liquor, coffee and grooming products.  But that may be only temporary.

The tax bumps have been in place since 2009.

Lawmakers intended for them, as well as proceeds from the legalization of video poker, to pay for a $31 billion infrastructure plan. 

Construction projects are already underway.

But a lawsuit brought on by Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz threatens to put a stop to it all.   He also owns a liquor distributorship.

He sued, saying the package is so expansive it defies a constitutional clause requiring laws stick to one subject.   And an appellate court agreed.  In effect, that strikes down the entire law. 

Which means the future of the taxes and video poker, as well as the projects they're supposed to fund, is in jeopardy.

But the State Supreme Court says while the Attorney General tries to appeal the lower courts' decision, the program can stay in place.

Wirtz's attorneys have filed paperwork agreeing to the temporary stay, citing that it gives the state time to figure out other financing options for the road, bridge, and school and other public works projects.

SC Order -- Wirtz v. Quinn