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Chamber statement

Tuesday, Nov 30, 2004

The statement from the Illinois Chamber about the Cook County judge’s ruling on the fee increase follows. Also, I read the court’s decision very early in the morning and misread part of it. Only the fees collected from the Workers Compensation surcharge are placed in escrow. However, it’s clear from the opinion that the other 300 fee increases aren’t Kosher.

“The court’s decision sends a clear message to our state lawmakers that it is unreasonable – and unconstitutional – to discriminate among fee payers and specifically burden one group, in this case businesses and employers, with providing funds for general purposes,” said Douglas L. Whitley, president and CEO of the Illinois Chamber.

“The court’s decision addresses the fundamental distinction between fees and taxes,” added Whitley. “If the General Assembly decides it needs additional funds for general purposes, it should be up front about it and enact a tax increase.”

“Our hope is that this well-reasoned decision will prevent lawmakers – in Illinois and across the nation – from abusing their power by using excessive fee increases to supplement general revenue funds, which should be generated by taxes paid by all taxpayers,” he said.

“By drawing this distinction, the court is saying that state government does not have unlimited power to impose fees. State government does not have a blank check to discriminate against a certain class of fee payers to solve its fiscal problems,” Whitley said.

A story in Crain’s about the judge’s ruling is here.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


1 Comment
  1. - Louis G. Atsaves - Tuesday, Nov 30, 04 @ 4:06 pm:

    The Crains article keeps referring to the Industrial Commission as handling “unemployment” claims. It actually handles work injury claims, which is a different thing completely.

    I still remain amused that no one in the press has picked up on the Blagojevich administration claims that there is no real difference between a tax increase and a fee increase in their arguments before the Court.


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