The Illinois Supreme Court is expected to rule in the coming weeks on how transit tax money is spent by local governments.
The case heard last week revolves around the Highway Safety Act, also known as the Transportation Safe Amendment, approved by voters in 2016. The amendment requires governments to use funds only for transport work.
Eleven transportation contractors and their attorney, John Fitzgerald of Tabet DiVito & Rothstein, faced off in state High Court last week against a Cook County attorney and a ruling by a Court of Appeals panel. of the First District of Illinois.
Fitzgerald argued that the amendment is not being enforced as many Illinois wanted.
“When the people of Illinois voted to approve the Highway Safety Amendment, they had every right to expect that the amendment they approved would be implemented as written” , said Fitzgerald.
Cook County Assistant Attorney Amy Crawford argued on behalf of Cook County and said the amendment should only apply to taxes and fees levied by state law, not taxes and royalties collected by county ordinance.
Fitzgerald argued that the wording of the amendment is clear.
“No money means no money,” Fitzgerald said. “No, some money but not others.”
Crawford went on to say that if transportation funds were only used for transportation projects, Illinois could see higher taxes in other areas.
“If these taxes are diverted from their current purposes and used for transportation, taxpayers are going to have to pay additional revenue,” Crawford said.
The Illinois Supreme Court is expected to rule on the case in the coming weeks.
The Center Square Illinois’ work focuses on state and local government and economic reports that approach stories with sensitivity for taxpayers. For more stories from The Center Square, visit TheCenterSquare.com.