While the judge in the Bears case ruled in favor of big government, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Alexander P. White made one of the most spectacular rulings in recent Illinois history by overturning a liquor tax passed by the General Assembly in 1999.
The legislation, which funded Gov. Ryan’s pork-ridden Illinois FIRST program, was rammed through the General Assembly before most members even had the chance to read the bill. Also, the state constitution requires that legislation deal with a single subject, but the liquor tax law didn’t. The Tribune’s Douglas Holt and Ray Long write:
White noted that the law’s title says the liquor funds are to be used for public infrastructure improvements, but then the bill itself says the funds could be tapped to pay everything from judges’ salaries to school aid, mental health grants, community programs, vehicles and equipment.
Even before the licenses for bribes scandal, there were a lot of problems with Gov. Ryan, who made it clear from the very beginning of his 1998 campaign for governor that he was trading pork for political favors. That’s not to mention Ryan-led GOP efforts to shut the Libertarian Party of Illinois‘ candidate out of the process by cracking down really hard on ballot access efforts.
Ryan had the guts to put a moratorium on the death penalty in Illinois, but it’s hard to think of anyone who wouldn’t have, considering how many people on death row were shown to be innocent. He also has tried to encourage trade with Cuba. But that’s where his good points end. He is worse than a big-government Democrat, because there are lots of Republicans who oppose his policies but voted for him just out of habit.