The owner of the Chicago Blackhawks hockey team, and more importantly, of Wirtz Beverages, won a case against the people of Illinois today:
An appellate court tossed out Gov. Pat Quinn’s signature $31 billion construction program, widespread plans for video poker and higher taxes on candy and booze, declaring Wednesday in a ruling that they were unconstitutional.
The suit was brought by Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz, who runs a large liquor empire and opposed the liquor tax hikes included in the legislation.
The decision knocked out all four laws that represented the backbone of the public works program Quinn put together with bipartisan support two years ago. It was the culmination of an effort with legislative leaders who had found working with former Gov. Rod Blagojevich futile.
"This lawsuit was always about how the legislature passed this bill and the discriminatory tax on wine and spirits,” said a spokesman for Wirtz in an e-mail. “The decision affirms that and we are gratified by it."
So, according to Wirtz, increasing taxes on wine and spirits is worse than thousands of jobs lost and fixing the roads, bridges, and tunnels in Illinois. And now no one has any idea what the law will be, because the state will now appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court, keeping this in limbo for another two years.
I wonder why the Illinois courts of appeal have suddenly decided to thwart the people's will in two high-profile cases in two days? This will be interesting to watch.