Illinois can keep collecting taxes for troubled capital bill

January 31, 2011

by City Room

The State of Illinois can continue collecting taxes for a $31 billion capital plan, even though the constitutionality of the bill is in question. In a motion filed Friday with the state Supreme Court, attorneys challenging the capital bill wrote that they do not object to the continuing funding of the bill while its legality is worked out in the court system.

Last week, the Illinois Appellate court deemed the capital bill unconstitutional. The judges said the capital bill violates a part of the state constitution that prohibits a single bill from dealing with more than one subject. The appeals court wrote that some provisions of the capital spending plan - including the higher taxes and fees - had no "natural and logical connection" to the projects they were supposed to fund.

Attorneys for Wirtz Beverage Illinois, LLC and Rocky Wirtz, the owner of the Chicago Blackhawks, are challenging the legality of the capital bill. Legislators agreed to expand video gambling as one way to pay for the $31 billion worth of construction projects.

A spokeswoman for Gov. Pat Quinn's office said last week the state has already raked in $425 million in higher fees to pay for the capital bill.