Wheeler pushes bill to prevent government intimidation on tax challenges
Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) has filed legislation to prevent big city governments from being big bullies when it comes to challenges to to their authority, according to a press release.
The bill, House Bill 4080, comes in response to a now-withdrawn lawsuit by Cook County that followed a challenge to the recently imposed sweetened beverage tax. The challenge had prompted a judge to impose a temporary block on the tax, which was to take effect in July. Cook County's lawsuit maintained that the block cost the county $17 million in uncollected taxes.
“Imagine a local small business grocer, family restaurant, hamburger stand, or theater owner being driven out of business by their own local government leaders who are suing the small business owner because he or she had the audacity to ask the courts if a new tax, that the local government was forcing the business to collect from its customers, was actually constitutional,” Wheeler said, according to the release. “No one should be able to be sued by their own government for asking the courts if a tax they are forced to collect is constitutional.”
While the county has since withdrawn the lawsuit -- the tax went into effect in August -- the threat revealed a potential avenue for governments to intimidate those who would challenge taxes, Wheeler said.
“I have filed this legislation in order to protect Illinois small businesses and taxpayers from a vengeful government seeking to punish them for exercising their constitutional rights,” Wheeler said in the release. “This is an issue that crosses partisan political lines. I am very optimistic that Democrat and Republican colleagues alike will join me in advancing this bill toward becoming law.”
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