Exclusive news and research on the wine, spirits and beer business

Wirtz Victory In Illinois Supreme Court Case Could Have Big Implications For State Tax Levels

May 18, 2011

Wirtz Beverage Illinois’ lawsuit against a 2009 state tax hike on wine, spirits and beer was heard before the state’s Supreme Court yesterday. Wirtz attorney Sam Vinson argued that the Illinois law known as the Capital Bill—which raised $31 billion in revenue for infrastructure spending via tax hikes on alcohol, candy and beauty products, legalized video gambling and privatized the state’s lottery—violated the state constitution’s “single subject” clause by including items questionably related to its stated subject of “revenue.” Richard Huszgah, arguing the case for Illinois, said all the items included in the bill had a “thematic” relationship.

Wirtz won an appeals court victory in the case in January, which Illinois governor Pat Quinn promptly appealed to the state Supreme Court. If the court finds in favor of Wirtz, state lawmakers will scramble to repackage the Capital Bill. Implemented in September 2009, the law increased state taxes per bottle of distilled spirits 81 cents, or 90%, to $1.71; taxes per bottle of wine 13 cents, or 87%, to 28 cents; and taxes per six-pack of beer 2.6 cents, or 25%, to 13 cents. Wirtz’s suit also objects to the unequal increases among drinks categories. The Supreme Court has yet to render a decision in the case.

Subscribe to Shanken News Daily’s Email Newsletter, delivered to your inbox each morning.

GET YOUR FIRST LOOK AT 2021 DATA AND 2022 PROJECTIONS FOR THE WINE AND SPIRITS INDUSTRIES. ORDER YOUR 2022 IMPACT DATABANK REPORTS. CLICK HERE.

Previous :  Next :