In a major victory for thousands of construction workers around Illinois, the state Supreme Court has upheld the controversial funding mechanism for the state's $31 billion capital construction plan. The unanimous decision clears the way for the continuation of road building, rebuilding and resurfacing projects already underway around the state.
Chicago liquor distributor and Chicago Blackhawk owner, Rocky Wirtz, claims the collection of fees, gambling income and new taxes that are funding the projects—including liquor taxes—aren't all part of the same subject, and so shouldn't have been approved in one omnibus package two years ago. Illinois' state constitution requires that each law the Legislature passes must encompass just one subject.
Illinois Representative Chapin Rose says while he did not support one of the three bills that was passed, he says the process and the relation of the bills was done Constitutionally.
[audio:capitalbillruling1.mp3]A Word From Rep. Rose[/audio]
Rep. Rose explains the bills were segregated to avoid the single subject problem. He was surprised because of that the process has made it as far as it has.
[audio:capitalbillruling2.mp3]A Word From Rep. Rose[/audio]
Governor Pat Quinn said it's best news the state could get.
Rep. Dan Brady says he is pleased the bill was upheld. He says this will keep construction projects moving forward, but most importantly, it will keep people employed.
[audio:capitalbillruling3.mp3]A Word From Rep. Brady[/audio]
Rep. Adam Brown says the bill was aimed to get people back to work, and the decision to uphold the bill will keep the Illinois infrastructure strong.
[audio:7-11-11 Brown - Capital decision.MP3]A Word From Rep. Brown[/audio]
Rep. Bill Mitchell says the issue goes beyond being a Republican or Democrat. He says unemployment in Illinois would have gone up even farther, so this was a good decision by the Illinois Supreme Court.
[audio:7-11-11 Mitchell - Capital decision.MP3]A Word From Rep. Mitchell[/audio]
Lawyers for Wirtz had argued that the legislation was classic "logrolling," with provisions addressing such different topics as legalization of slot-machine gambling, taxes on liquor, and vehicle fees.
But the court found in the ruling that all those topics were related to the funding of the capital improvement plan, and so don't violate the single-subject rule.