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Boycott threat against Wirtz for capital bill’s demise

Thursday, Jan 27, 2011

* Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz filed the lawsuit which resulted in the capital bill’s demise yesterday at he hands of the appellate court. At least one union is now talking boycott

Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz might face a backlash now that the lawsuit he filed has indirectly put tens of thousands of construction jobs in jeopardy. […]

The lawsuit that led to Wednesday’s ruling was filed by Wirtz, whose family owns the Chicago Blackhawks. The foundation of their financial fortune is Wirtz Beverage Illinois, a distributor of alcoholic beverages. Used to getting their way in Springfield, the Wirtz family was infuriated when the legislature ignored their objections to the liquor tax.

Chicago labor leaders were not happy about the construction jobs that will vanish if the capital projects don’t go through. Jim Sweeney, President of Local 150 International Union of Operating Engineers, said his members might boycott Wirtz family businesses including the Blackhawks.

First of all, there was nothing “indirect” about it. That lawsuit led directly to the current calamity. Also, secondary union boycotts are illegal, although this might not be viewed as such.

* Meanwhile, the Tribune triumphantly gloated

Lawmakers are, of course, free to disassemble their Frankenbill and pass the measures separately, as they should have done in the first place. Good luck with that. In the year and a half since they pulled this stunt, we’ve had the sort of public airing we didn’t get in the beginning, and it’s clear Illinois residents don’t want those new bridges and buildings badly enough to welcome video poker to their neighborhoods.

More than 70 communities already have voted not to allow the machines. All four major candidates for mayor of Chicago want to leave the city’s ban on video gambling in place. We’ve elected some new lawmakers, and set old and new on notice: This doesn’t fly. Wednesday’s ruling should be the end of it.

* As I explained to subscribers this morning, it won’t be easy passing another funding bill. The Sun-Times has more on that

If Wednesday’s decision is not overturned, Gov. Quinn will face an unexpectedly difficult and financially uncertain spring legislative session that many observers had expected to be relatively tame. Now, after passage of the politically unpopular income-tax hike, he could be faced with scaling back the construction plan or persuading re-enactment of the stricken tax and fee increases, borrowing and video poker that has been rejected by dozens of communities.

“For those who supported this most recent tax increase and then went home and heard from their constituents, what will your reaction be to another vote on fee and tax increases, which were part of the original capital proposal?” said Sen. Matt Murphy (R-Palatine), who said it is not a certainty that Republicans in a new Legislature will agree to the same framework as before on a construction package. “We’re in a different time.”

The prospect of having to go back to the Legislature and win backing again for billions of dollars in construction borrowing is further complicated by Gov. Quinn’s push for a separate $8.75 billion borrowing package he had intended to seek this spring to whittle down the state’s backlog of unpaid bills.

“You’d like to think at a certain point we’d collectively achieve borrowing fatigue. I know I’m there personally,” Murphy said. “This is just a sticky wicket.”

* But not all Republicans are so pessimistic

State Rep. Dan Brady, R-Bloomington, said he was disappointed with the court’s ruling on a measure he called a “jobs bill.”

“When you now say that the funding in the legislation itself is unconstitutional, you put a choke hold on those jobs and the state and the economy,” Brady said. “This whole jobs bill … was directed to stimulate the economic engine of the state of Illinois and put people back to work in this high unemployment time.”

* Locals reacted in horror

“Regardless of my feelings on what the Legislature did to fund the capital bill, what’s concerning is that we haven’t had one in such a long time. The infrastructure in our state is terrible. My immediate concern is that it’s addressed,” said Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis.

“My initial concern would be the impact that this ruling would have on all the capital projects that have been identified and planned and, most notably, with the Peoria Riverfront Museum,” said Peoria County Administrator Patrick Urich. “The state has identified $5 million for part of this project and I’m concerned what’s going to happen with that.” […]

District 150 Treasurer Dave Kinney said he hoped the ruling would not have any effect on the money expected to go to the school district.

If it does, though, “I would think that our first step would be to meet with the PBC and architects involved … and put a temporary halt to the projects until we can sort out what the priorities would be,” Kinney said. “We were anticipating bids to go out on both projects in April or May, so right now there isn’t an obligation to one project or the other from the standpoint of having hired contractors. Hopefully, since we have been on a (Capital Development Board) list for quite some time, there will be minimal impact. Obviously, we will need to find out as soon as possible what that link might be.”

* Except for video poker, most people have forgotten what was used to fund the capital program. The SJ-R has a handy list

* Legalizing video poker in places like bars and social clubs, raising an estimated $375 million.

* Turning over day-to-day management of the lottery to a private firm and allowing the sale of lottery tickets online, $150 million.

* Increasing the tax on alcohol, $114 million.

* Extending the sales tax to previously exempt items such as candy, non-carbonated beverages, and health and beauty products, $150 million.

* Increasing vehicle fees, $331 million. Vehicle registration and driver’s license fees increased $20. Titles and commercial licenses went up by $30.

* And the Sun-Times has the list of what’s been borrowed and spent…

How much has already been borrowed: $2.2 billion

How much has already been collected: $425 million

* Related…

* Daily Herald: Liquor tax hike, video gambling struck down

* Court puts massive construction program in limbo

* Court ruling derails Stevens Building plans - Ruling also imperils other capital funding

* Video gaming, tax hike ruling raises questions about Route 59 project

* A new round for racetrack site - Wirtz Beverage to build liquor distribution center at former Sportsman’s Park in Cicero

* Chicago wins court appeal
over O’Hare Airport expansion

* High court ducks battle between O’Hare, cemetery

* Attorney general sides with Quinn on appointments dispute

* Attorney General: Pay Quinn’s appointees

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Jo - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 9:21 am:

    Looking at the roll call, I see one No (Coulson), one Present (Fritchey), and one Excused (Washington) that would likely turn to Yes votes on a new vote.

    There will obviously be more switching the other way, but this may provide enough padding to help it get through.

  2. - WRMNpolitics - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 9:28 am:

    Rich, I respectfully disagree. Rocky Wirtz’s lawsuit may have been the catalyst, but the direct cause of this current calamity is the poorly crafted and in the opinion of the appellate court, unconstitutional legislation passed by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor. Wirtz was doing nothing more than challenging a law the would affect his business, same as many other businesses and unions have done. Labor leaders have a right to be angry, but Wirtz did not put needed construction projects and jobs in jeopardy, a sloppy Legislature and Governor did.

  3. - Ivan Boldirev - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 9:33 am:

    While a secondary boycott would be illegal, secondary picketing is legal. So the Teamsters can pass out informational leaflets at the United Center, not to be confused with the guy selling The Committed Indian for $3.

  4. - Wumpus - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 9:36 am:

    Good luck getting anything done on that SPortsman Park Distributorship. Can he use non-union employees for that?

  5. - JustaJoe - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 9:37 am:

    Agree completely with WRMNpolitics. Our legislators seem adept at the politics of legislation but incompetent at the craft. Is it any wonder that the the state’s real problems don’t get addressed?

  6. - U-Haul Ho! - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 9:37 am:

    “Also, secondary union boycotts are illegal, although this might not be viewed as such.”

    So we are going to use illegal tactics to fight a perfectly legal one that was used in order to enforce a constitutional law?

    Sheesh…no wonder Illinois is circling the drain.

  7. - piling on - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 9:42 am:

    I really don’t think Rep. Washington’s vote will change.

    As for WRMN. Pretend for moment that the GA writes a new capital bill and lets you and the Trib edit board review it for constitutional compliance.
    Wirtz is still going to sue because of the liquor tax and stall it in court for a couple more years.
    Just want to make that part clear.
    He’s not defending the consitution. He’s defending his wallet. He has every right to. But let’s just keep the motivation clear in all of this.

  8. - Pud - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 9:42 am:

    How about we start over and this time make sure the $5 mil for a ‘Peoria Riverfront Museum’ is cut from the new bill and instead given to a school or hospital, please.

  9. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 9:42 am:

    WRMNpolitics is correct in my opinion as well. Legislative leaders knew they were skating on precarious ice with these bills, as did the Governor’s legislative staff. They push that envelope with other legislation as well, choosing instead to roll dice and hope no one steps up who can challenge them. You may not like Wirtz or his reson for the suit, but the outcome called out the lawmakers and the Governor on some nasty legislative shenanigans that have been all too habitual.

  10. - Mark Buerhle - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 9:43 am:

    @Jo- Eddie Washington is no longer with us. So no, he won’t be switching to a yes.

  11. - OneMan - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 9:43 am:

    So I need to renew my plates, did that cost just go down?

  12. - the Patriot - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 9:43 am:

    2 Blackhawks ticket $160.00
    2 beers, 2 dogs $24.00

    Union leaders threatening a boycot because the guy asked the Constitution be enforced…Priceless!

  13. - TJ - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 9:44 am:

    Getting mad at Wirtz for this is akin to getting mad at someone for sneezing on your face when someone else threw pepper in their face. Sure, Wirtz challenged the capital bill, but we’re talking about a unanimous decision by the State Supremes to knock it down. Obviously, that means that there are very significant constituional concerns with the bill, meaning that the General Assembly did a horrible job crafting this bill in the first place.

    Get mad at Springfield for this first. If you still have pent-up anger leftover after that, then get mad at Wirtz and the Hawks.

  14. - Jo - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 9:45 am:

    piling on -

    You don’t think Rep. Mayfield would vote for a new bill?

  15. - JoeVerdeal - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 9:45 am:

    Would it be possible for any new legislation to fund capital projects to include a tax on liquor which is substantially higher than that originally provided for in the bill that Wirtz has succeeded in striking down???

    Perhaps there are reasons why this would be impossible….??? Might be a more effective method to provide funds and reduce consumption of alcoholic beverages at the same time.

  16. - Jo - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 9:47 am:

    I think it was obvious that I was referencing legislators who are no longer there (Coulson, Fritchey, Washington).

  17. - Todd - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 9:48 am:

    Secondary boycotts are illegal in the context of stikes and organizing. However the general call for a boycott of a company in this situation is different and the NLRA — the national labor relations act, has no bearing on this as this is not representative activity, collective bargaining or organizing.

    So any boycott or call for a boycott or protest of the Wirtz empire with demonstrations is perfectly legal no matter if called for union/packers fans or dudley dorite.

  18. - Jo - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 9:48 am:

    we’re talking about a unanimous decision by the State Supremes to knock it down

    Ummm… no we aren’t

  19. - TJ - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 9:51 am:

    Sorry, sorry. Mistyped that. Meant to say unanimous decision by the appellate court. Thanks for pointing out the mistake, Jo. My bad.

  20. - Soccertease - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 9:51 am:

    WRMN, I agree with you. The court’s opionion speaks to the backroom deals, vote trading and other political trickery that’s business as usual in Illinois. Single subject legislation is too honest for Illinois politicians.

  21. - Demoralized - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 9:55 am:

    Does this mean that I can ask for the extra $20 I paid to renew my vehicle registration back??

  22. - You Can't Stop What's Coming - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 9:57 am:

    Don’t forget the ILL-GOP leadership in the House and Senate were on board with this fiasco.

    There’s so much pork larded into it that the entire legislature should have to be vaccinated for Trichinosis before they go near it again.

    “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” It might be an opportunity to really cut wasteful spending?

    And, by the way, Sen. Murphy have you got those 36 votes to rescind the +67% Income Tax hike yet?

  23. - Palatine - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 9:59 am:

    Way to go Rocky. Enough of trying to raise funds from specific groups of users. If the State needs more money for this then raise the sales tax so everybody pays.

  24. - Downstate Illinois - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 10:04 am:

    Maybe this anger at Wirtz could be focused in dismantling the anti-competitive legislation that props up liquor distributors in this state.

  25. - Responsa - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 10:04 am:

    After Mr. Fritchey’s interesting comments here yesterday I got to wondering if anyone in the Chicago media called out or warned the legislators and public on the single subject issue as relates to the Capital Bill. I do not recall seeing it, and an admittedly quick Google search did not see it.

    Also, I find the personal attacks against Rocky Wirtz for having the temerity to apply his Constitutional rights to be very unsettling .

  26. - Honest Abe - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 10:08 am:

    A few days ago, some pundits were mocking the US House of Representatives where the new majority had the Federal Constitution read aloud to start the session.

    Maybe some of the pols in Springpatch would benefit by actually reading the Illinois Constitution. The restriction of one subject per legislative bill seems rather obvious to many people, but not to all of the legislators.

  27. - Big D - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 10:14 am:

    Now that this statute has been ruled unconstitutional, will all those people who paid the new increased vehicle fees receive a refund from the Secretary of State?

  28. - doug dobmeyer - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 10:16 am:

    .Good going Wirtz! The Video poker aspect of the bill was horrible. Guess the lobsters that got the bill passed did not earn their high fees. Did they get paid anyway? Probly so,er hope they did not.

    Doug Dobmeyer

  29. - Small Town Liberal - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 10:17 am:

    - having the temerity -

    Does temerity now mean money and lawyers?

  30. - piling on - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 10:18 am:

    I have no idea how Rep. Mayfield will vote. But I know Rep. Washington’s vote will not change. I would never assume anything about legislative votes until they are on the board and verified.

  31. - phocion - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 10:20 am:

    Very interesting that people have been paying taxes on everything without having any complaints about it. The only objectionable item from the capital bill, it appears, is the video gaming component of it. And that never generated a single dime in revenue because it has not gotten off the ground. To any Republicans who claim increasing taxes will cause a public backlash, please explain why increases in liquor, candy, hair products, etc. never ever caused a single peep in protest. Fix the bill and get people back to work.

  32. - Reality - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 10:21 am:

    Thank goodness someone in this state still gets it. The dang bill was unconstitutional. Enforce the consitution people. Maybe they will start enforcing other sections as well. But I won’t hold my breath.

  33. - NotRMiller - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 10:22 am:

    The labor leaders at 150 need a quick dose of reality. Every day more and more developers and construction companies are moving AWAY FROM union construction work. Nobody cares or worries about the big inflatable rat being in front of their project. Picket a Blackhawks game??? Come on! 20,000+ fans will walk right past the picket line enjoy their beer and cheer on the UNION players on the ice!!! This thought process is exactly why unions are on the decline big time.

  34. - sangamo better blues - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 10:22 am:

    @ Responsa -

    So, Wirtz is a patriot by applying his constitutional rights, but it’s unsettling to you that the union is applying theirs?

    I have to groan a little at all this lauding of Wirtz as a defender of good/open government.

  35. - mokenavince - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 10:26 am:

    Just an example of MJM,Collerton,And Quinnocio’s
    sloppy way of governing.When will we learn? We just sent more idiot’s to Springfield.Lets be sure they know the Illinois Constitution.Thanks Rocky these dumb ass’s are no match for you.Rocky for Governor. Let’s recall Quinn.

  36. - amalia - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 10:27 am:

    oh, they will be angry enough when the Blackhawks don’t move it in the playoffs. How are those protests against Walmart doing, union movement?

  37. - Jo - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 10:31 am:

    Wow - did the PJ Star just send their commenters over here?

  38. - Snooki - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 10:31 am:

    WRMN - Excellent points, well stated

    Pud - good call… let’s worry about new riverfront museums after IL catches up on the backlog of debts owed to non-profits, etc.

    Blaming Wirtz for filing suit against unconstitutional legislation is completely misdirected… the entire situation could have been avoided from the start if legislators had simply crafted a bill falling within the confines of the IL Constitution.

    Disappointing that a private citizen (regardless of motive) must force corrective action because legislators failed to do their job.

  39. - Responsa - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 10:31 am:

    ==but it’s unsettling to you that the union is applying theirs==

    @sangamo–not only did I not say any of what you said I did, I did not even imply it. Please do not paraphrase and reconstitute my posts in order to create a straw man and then attack me. That tends not to fly on this blog. Thanks.

  40. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 10:32 am:

    How about seeing the forest instead of just the tree?

    We may be seeing the legislative equivalent of an auto recall. Laws with similar unconstitutional equivalents may be seeing court rooms too.

    We are messed up.

  41. - Todd - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 10:32 am:

    Not. -

    Our union market share is quite high in our jurisdiction. Can’t speak for all the other trades, but over the last 20 years we have seen our membership double. We have new companies coming to us to sign up all the time. Very few leaving.

    Maybe because we police our industry’ maybe becuase we provide state of the art training and a 300,000 sq ft training center on 300 acres.

    So we ar not seeing what you purport to be happening.

    Wirtz has his 1.5 billion liquer distributorship and hes complaining about a pass through cost to help fix the infrastructer and put people back to work.

    He’s having a hissy fit cuase they didn’t tax beer enough. @$& him

  42. - Honest Abe - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 10:34 am:

    How can the video poker legislation possibly be reinstated by the legislature? Joe Berrios is not available to accept assignments as a lobbyist any longer! LOL.

  43. - GetOverIt - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 10:35 am:

    @sangamo better blues:

    Exactly! Good work.

  44. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 10:36 am:

    “The restriction of one subject per legislative bill seems rather obvious to many people, but not to all of the legislators.”

    Isn’t that what legislative staff & leadershp is for?

  45. - piling on - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 10:37 am:

    Snooki, the GA can correct this and Wirtz will still file a lawsuit.

  46. - nortsider - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 10:37 am:

    Maybe the unions don’t want to admit the guys they gave all their money to are incompetent! The unions are the ones who put Quinn over the top and the Democrat majority too. The Democrats have been in charge so long that they think they can just force anything through like not balancing the budget even though it is the law. They are never held to account so what the hell who cares how it’s done. Now these union leaders are looking for some one to blame? Sweeney look in the mirror.

  47. - mariam - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 10:40 am:

    Does it matter what the motivation is when is comes to the constitution? No. Citizens have the right to challenge things as unconstitutional…no matter what the motivation.
    Is it OK to violate the constitution if the motivation is jobs? No. Again doesn’t matter what the motivations are.

    Follow the constitution….or change it.

  48. - Deep South - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 10:40 am:

    So, then, Responsa perhaps you could tell us about the personal attacks on Wirtz? I can’t seem to find any “personal” attacks. Please…

  49. - unspun - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 10:46 am:

    Will the union folks also boycott Captain Morgan, Crown Royal, Jack Daniels, Jaegermeister, and Jose Cuervo…all of which Wirtz distributes?

  50. - WRMNpolitics - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 10:46 am:

    Piling on- Wirtz or anyone else with standing has the right to file a suit against the bill, even in a corrected form. Certainly Wirtz is looking out for his business and revenue as are the union leaders who are looking out for their work and membership. The key fact here is that currently the appellate court agrees with Wirtz and has deemed the law unconstitutional. Had the legislation been written properly,the court would have ruled against Wirtz and the legislation would stand.

  51. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 10:48 am:

    In a pro government state of mind, the Naked Emporer is not attacked, the little point pointing out the reality that the emporer is naked gets attacked.

    If the kid is overweight, he will be laughed at as a fattie.
    They will claim that at one time the kid was naked too.
    If the kid’s father was an anti-monachist they will claim that the boy was partisan.
    They will claim that he is not credentialled to be listened to.
    If the boy’s father is rich they will say he is greedy.

    So the emporer will remain naked, and his supporters will deny his nudity and attack those who disagree.

  52. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 10:52 am:

    Thanks Deep South for pointing out another line of attack…

    The naked emporer’s supporters will claim they are not attacking the little boy.

  53. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 10:55 am:


    What on earth are you talking about? Try to calm down and stop with the ridiculous analogies. It’s very distracting.

  54. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 10:56 am:

    Rocky might see a single-subject liquor tax bill that’s much higher, especially if the Blackhawks miss the playoffs and he loses some of his personal mojo.

    So a bill with various revenue streams to issue bonds for a state capital construction program doesn’t pass this particular appellate court’s “natural and logical connection” test?

    Reasonable minds might disagree. Single-subject has been abused a lot worse than that in the past and passed judicial review. Different interpretations are a big reason we need so many lawyers and a Supreme Court, I guess.

    We’ll see what the Supremes say. They’ve been rather loathe in the past to second-guess the GA on how it conducts its business. Man, the appellate courts are rocking this week. A reality show might be in order, if they would allow cameras.

    According to Illinois Issues, the $2.2 billion in bonds issued with the revenues that the court tossed also carry the state’s GO pledge. So the bonds are solid, but it could be an added strain to GRF if the revenues aren’t restored.

  55. - chi - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 10:56 am:

    I’m sure you laud the temerity of everyone who exercises their constitutional rights to file suit, whether it’s over a car accident or a liquor tax. To do otherwise would be hypocritical, no?

  56. - formerpolitico - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 11:00 am:

    What else has to happen before the voters of Illinois get wise to the flawed leadership they keep re-electing? We ought to give the whole state back to the Indians and all leave! Coulson was the only NO vote, so of course she gets hounded out of the Republican Party by the tea-baggers. We deserve all these problems we have!

  57. - Bigtwich - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 11:03 am:

    ==Follow the constitution….or change it. ==

    Does that work with Pensions too?

  58. - Justice - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 11:04 am:

    Send in the Clowns…oh wait, we did! Thanks to Wirtz, for whatever reason, and to the decision by the appellate court, we might just be able to get things moving in the right direction…if the legislators can just figure out which direction that is.

    I never did like gambling revenues as an option for good fiscal management. Getting rid of unions in the public sector would be a good option and a good first step.

  59. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 11:05 am:

    The assumption in a lot of these posts is that the constitutional law around the provision regarding “single subject” is very straight forward and the legislators and governor are idiots for enacting the bill they did. That is not true - trying to anticipate when the courts are going to throw out a bill for this reason is like predicting the weather; you never know which way the wind will blow. The GA and GO obviously thought they had adequately dealt with the issue by putting things into several different bills that were mutually dependent. The Appellate Court said they didn’t go far enough. I don’t think the right conclusion is that the parties involved were ignoramuses.

  60. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 11:05 am:

    Boycotting Wirtz now is pretty much closing the barn door after the horse got out. What’s the point?

    Face it-he won. If they wanted to protest, it should have been before the ruling.

    Shot and a goal!

  61. - Jo - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 11:06 am:

    An easy compromise would be to make Rocky drive his big heavy trucks on only private roads and highways.

    Oh, wait…

  62. - Responsa - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 11:11 am:

    Chi–Like most rational people I most certainly don’t always “laud” the suits that are filed in our courts, nor in my earlier comments did I “laud” the case being discussed here today. But I DO respect individuals’ Constitutional rights to file suits. Always.

  63. - Snooki - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 11:12 am:

    Piling on, that’s perfectly fine. Wirtz can have his lawsuit any time he wants - before or after the GA fixes this bill.

    Note that the appellate court’s ruling did NOT address Wirtz’s claims regarding the liquor tax.

    The underlying point is straightforward: had this legislation been crafted in a Constitutional fashion in the first place, we wouldn’t have a Governor currently concerned about funding for his $31 billion capital bill or legislators scrambling to re-do their own work (like kindergartners re-doing their homework).

    We would have a court case centering on the liquor tax. Heck, by now Wirtz may have filed his appeal and lost (or won) by now… but we don’t know because shoddy craftmanship by legislators gave the appeals court a reason to shoot down the entire bill.

    The legislators jeopardized this capital bill, not Wirtz. Had the bill been crafted properly, Wirtz could have challenged the liquor tax without taking down the entire bill with it.

    The state would be in a better place at the moment were that the case.

    At the very least, we’d be able to focus on other pressing work, rather than re-doing old work because it wasn’t done properly the first time around.

  64. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 11:15 am:

    –Boycotting Wirtz now is pretty much closing the barn door after the horse got out. What’s the point?

    Face it-he won. If they wanted to protest, it should have been before the ruling.

    Shot and a goal! –

    Maybe. But to layer a football metaphor on top of your hockey one, Quinn is reaching into his sock a la Bellichick for his red flag, and will toss it on the field in hopes for a review from the Supremes booth.

  65. - Jo - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 11:19 am:

    I would also like to make a point that not a single member of the General Assembly brought up any single subject/constitutional concerns during the whole debate.

    Which is somewhat ironic, because right before the capital bill vote in the Senate, they spent hours debating the constitutionality of a bill that would have required collecting DNA samples from all felons.

  66. - Deep South - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 11:21 am:

    ===Thanks Deep South for pointing out another line of attack…

    The naked emporer’s supporters will claim they are not attacking the little boy.===

    Back-atcha VanMan.

    But I simply asked a question…to which I don’t have an answer - yet.

  67. - Jo - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 11:22 am:

    word - hockey has instant replay, too. And I think this shot hit off the post.

  68. - NotRMiller - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 11:33 am:

    The next Hawk home game is 2-16: can’t wait to see you and Sweeney out there with the big inflatable rat! Will the Rat be wearing a Patrick Kane jersey??? You know Kaner is a card carrying union brother!! After the game you all can run over to Rocky’s liquor warehouse and picket the Teamster truck drivers as they leave for their route deliveries.

  69. - Living in Oklahoma - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 11:42 am:

    Watching this all unfold is entertaining in a twisted sort of way. It should not be, but sometimes total chaos can be entertaining.

  70. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 11:42 am:

    47, are you missing VMan’s “natural and logical connections?”

  71. - OneMan - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 12:14 pm:

    For what it is worth the SoS is still charging $99 for plate renewal

  72. - Ghost of John Brown - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 12:21 pm:

    I’m quickly finishing my Crown Royal (distributed by Wirtz) and will then buy Canadian Club (not distributed by Wirtz). With what is going on, an occassional stiff drink is necessary.

  73. - Chicago Bars - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 1:52 pm:

    Snooki’s right - it looks like Wirtz might have a couple more viable constitutional issues to assert.

    The Appellate Court just considered the “Single Subject” claim. Even if the latest decision gets overturned he can still kick around at least the hospitality taxes on beer, wine, and liquor in court on other grounds.

    After already spending a head banging hour in Dorothy Brown’s world at the Daley Center trying to get a copy of the initial lawsuit it would be enormously appreciated if somebody knows of a link to Wirtz’s original complaint.

  74. - Anon - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 2:17 pm:

  75. - "Old Timer Dem" - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 2:36 pm:

    I do not think the Wirtz’s are too worried about Sweeney’s boycott especially of the Blackhawks. The Wirtz’s public image has improved greatly under Rocky Wirtz’s leadership. They will still sell plenty of liquor and have no trouble selling out Hawk games in spite of any union boycott.

  76. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 3:07 pm:

    –They will still sell plenty of liquor and have no trouble selling out Hawk games in spite of any union boycott.–

    Things can change in a hurry, though, for good or bad, as Rocky knows better than most.

    The Hawks sold out forever in the 70s and 80s, but the fan base got sick of old Dollar Bill and abandoned the team for years. Just three years ago, they had loads of empty seats at the United Center for Hawks game.

    Rocky had the best p.r. run you can imagine after the old man died — pushing out his brother and Pulford, signing Toews, Kane and Keith, the Olympics featuring Hawks, bringing back Hull, Mikita, Esposito and Tallon, putting games on TV, winning the Cup, the parade. It’s all been golden.

    But the Hawks might not make the playoffs this year. He’s honked off a good chunk of his fan base (blue-collar workers who want those jobs and projects) for a temporary victory in this court case.

    Even if the Supremes uphold the appellate court, he might get a bigger single-issue liquor tax bill to support those bonds down the road. In retribution, somebody might want to examine the whole ridiculous state liquor distribution laws (basically, a license to print money, as he and the Jackson kids know).

    Careful what you wish for, you might get it.

  77. - Anon - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 3:20 pm:

    Several want to hold for Wirtz bringing to light the constitutional issues. However, his horse is not entirely white as his company has basically skirted the laws that do not allow for a monoply in that industry.

  78. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 3:38 pm:

    –Several want to hold for Wirtz bringing to light the constitutional issues.–

    LOL, I don’t think Rocky filed suit to defend the Illinois constitution.

    Of course, like any citizen, he has a right to defend his interests.

    But if Illinois passed a law that stated he could be the only distributor of booze in the state and that the Red Wings could only skate four, I doubt if you would challenge it on single-subject constitutional grounds.

  79. - CONCERNED - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 6:13 pm:

    Rocky Wirtz motivation was not just about the liquor tax , it was also more importantly about sales ! A man walks into a bar with $50 dollars. man drinks beer,man drinks another beer and another etc. etc. Or man walks into a bar with $50 dollars, man drinks a beer, man spends $20 dollars on video poker, man drinks a beer and man spends $20 dollars on video poker.

  80. - CONCERNED - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 6:40 pm:

    The lawmakers in springfield know how to pass a bill. They promised the unions a jobs bill for support during the past election and put it together illegaly so it could not pass. You telling me they did not know how to assemble a bill. Unions got played.

  81. - Richard - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 8:23 pm:

    I thought this was done in 2009? Wasn’t Quinn the default governor without the support of the union first when this happened. How can you say they passed this Capital bill into law because of the union support? Get you facts straight.

    Was looking at the law—

    “3. Rule requires only that all the provisions relate to a single subject, not that individual provisions “be related to each other.”

    Doesn’t all the tentacles of the law point back to funding construction?

  82. - Richard - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 8:27 pm:

    II. Arangold Corp. v. Zehnder, 187 Ill.2d 341, 718 N.E.2d 191 (1999)

    A. Single subject rule is satisfied if matters within a public act have a “natural and logical connection.”

    1. The term “subject” is comprehensive, and may be defined broadly so long as all the provisions have a “natural and logical connection” to a single subject.

    2. An act’s length, number of provisions, or the number of acts amended is not controlling.

    3. Rule requires only that all the provisions relate to a single subject, not that individual provisions “be related to each other.”

  83. - Richard - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 8:36 pm:

    In other words in my interpretation I believe the intent of this 1997 law was to keep the gist of the bill or law with one mean in mind not to add other unrelated laws into the primary law in order to piggy back them through. Am I wrong? I mean I think this law has the intent of funding the infrastructure improvements within the state. Am I missing something?

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