By Benjamin Yount Illinois Statehouse News
SPRINGFIELD — Billions of dollars in construction projects across Illinois will continue this summer.
The state Supreme Court ruled Monday that the state's $31 billion construction package is constitutional.
Lawyers for the Wirtz family, Illinois' largest liquor distributors, had challenged the 2009 law that sought to pay for new roads, bridges and schools by raising taxes on beer, wine and spirits; creating new taxes on candy and shampoo; collecting higher license plate fees and legalizing video poker. The Wirtz family said the plan violated Illinois' single-subject requirement, in which any legislation must deal with one subject.
But the state's high court early Monday morning, ruled that the law did deal with a single subject — construction.
Justice Anne Burke, who authored the unanimous opinion, wrote: "The various provisions have a natural and logical connection."
The ruling ends months of waiting for lawmakers and Gov. Pat Quinn. Had the Supreme Court struck down the construction plan, Quinn said lawmakers would "have to take immediate action" to restore the money by holding a special session.
The governor had said earlier this summer that any disruption of the construction program could eliminate 52,000 jobs and grind to a halt more than $16 billion worth of work .
Check back with Illinois Statehouse News for more on this developing story.