* Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed a motion for stay with the Illinois Supreme Court to keep the capital program alive for now. As you know already, an appellate panel declared the law unconstitutional because it violated the state Constitution’s Single Subject Matter rule for legislation. The appellate court claimed that supporters of the law deemed the bill in question as being about “revenue,” when there was a whole lot more to the bill than just revenues.
As I told subscribers earlier this week, that reasoning seems more than a little silly. This was the capital bill. That’s how all the pieces fit together. And Madigan’s motion for stay points that out as well…
The State Parties have a substantial case on the merits. In Arangold, this Court upheld against a single subject challenge the State’s budget implementation act for fiscal year 1996, which contained a wide variety of statutory provisions creating and amending state programs and revenues in multiple acts. 187 Ill. 2d at 347-56. The State Parties argued below that the Capital Projects Acts were similarly related to a permissible single subject - the capital projects initiative - that was narrower in scope than implementation of a full year’s budget. (State Parties’ Br. at 28-33.) That argument clearly presents a substantial case on the merits. [Bolding added.]
* The State Journal-Register doesn’t want the General Assembly to take any chances. Instead, it advises, legislators should come back to town next week and immediately pass all the pieces of the capital projects bill save for one…
[T]ake video poker out of the formula and revive the $1-a-pack cigarette tax you left on the table last session. That was estimated to bring in $377 million. Communities can’t opt out of that one. Nor will we need a new army of enforcement personnel to make sure the state gets its cut, as we will when video poker machines arrive in hundreds of locations.
* But that could be easier said than done…
Some freshman Republican lawmakers, including state Reps. Jason Barickman of Champaign and Adam Brown of Decatur, have already introduced legislation seeking to roll back the recent income tax increases.
Their position on tax hikes indicates that getting any “yes” votes on a re-enacted liquor tax or higher vehicle fees for the construction program would be a stretch.
“I think there will be many legislators, myself included, who will question the wisdom of these funding mechanisms as being reliable sources of revenue for the state,” Barickman said.
Although he supports the construction program because of the jobs it creates, Barickman said it might be better to finance it with savings found in other parts of state government, rather than additional taxes. For example, he said overhauling the state’s public employee pension systems could generate extra money for building roads and bridges.
David Yepsen, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, noted that some Republicans who voted for the tax increases in 2009 might not be willing to do so now.
“Voters are not in any great mood to do any more tax increasing,” Yepsen said.
Gross agreed that passing tax increases now would be difficult.
“I think all bets are off if this court decision is allowed to stand,” [David Gross, SIU’s legislative liaison] said.
Gross could very well be right.
* An understatement…
“My prediction would be that the Supreme Court will take this case. It doesn’t have to. It should. I think it should hear this case expeditiously, and I think it should stay the appellate court decision pending a speedy resolution of the case because this is throwing an entire state in more chaos than we were in before,” said Harold Krent, dean, IIT- Kent College of Law.
Chaos R Us.
* Supporting record on motion for stay
* Illinois’ choice: Construction jobs or steep liquor tax?
* Work Continues Despite Court Ruling
* Ruling Sends Lawmakers Back to the Drawing Board