'Hawks Owner Sues Over Liquor Taxes

Rocky Wirtz says bill riders are unconstitutional

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Getty Images / Jonathan Daniel
    Rocky Wirtz, team president of the Chicago Blackhawks stands near the ice as the Blackhawks practice a day before playing against the Detroit Red Wings in the NHL Winter Classic at Wrigley Field on December 31, 2008 in Chicago, Illinois.

    Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz sued the state on Tuesday over its impending beer and liquor tax hike and the state's new video poker law, just a few days before the laws are to take effect.

    While it's unclear whether the suit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, will have any impact before next Tuesday, the fate of the state's $31 billion public works program could be in jeopardy if a judge files an injunction. The tax hikes, gambling expansion and a partial privatization of the state lottery is intended to fund that program.

    Wirtz, who also runs a liquor distribution business, said the General Assembly violated the Illinois Constitution in drafting the massive infrastructure rebuilding plan by drafting legislation on substantive matters that did not pertain to a mis-mash of unrelated subjects.

    As if a bill containing unrelated items is anything new.

    In fact, $500 million of the public works bill, which the Assembly passed in June and Gov. Pat Quinn signed in July, was set aside for lawmakers to spend however they please on projects in their home districts.

    Wirtz also says the expansion of video poker violates federal gambling rules.