Illinois Supreme Court Upholds Tax Increases

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Illinois Supreme Court Upholds Tax Increases

10/17/2011

The Supreme Court of Illinois in Chicago has reversed a First District Appellate Court decision and upheld the state's right to charge a higher tax rate on alcohol, soft drinks, candy, and grooming and hygiene products. However, retailers will not see a change, because of the Illinois Department of Revenue's instructions to collect the increased rate while the case was under review.

Public Act 96-35, which  took effect Sept. 1, 2009,  included a tax increase from 1 percent to 6.25 percent on certain products, and nearly doubled the tax on wine, beer and other alcoholic beverages. The case, Wirtz v. Quinn, questioned whether the act violated the state's "one subject" requirement.

The appellate court had previously found that the act's single subject was "revenue" due to its title. The supreme court overruled the lower court's decision, saying that the act's single subject was "capital projects" and noting that the word "subject" may be as broad as the legislature chooses and should be construed liberally in favor of upholding the legislation. The court also found that the act's provisions had a "natural and logical connection" to the subject of the legislation and upheld the constitutionality of the act itself.