Illinois Supreme Court to decide if taxpayers can sue government for overspending

A case currently before the Illinois Supreme Court asks how much power a taxpayer should have when they sue their government for misuse of funds.

The lawsuit alleges that the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity gave away more generous incentives than the law allowed. DCEO is responsible for giving out the Economic Development for a Growing Economy, or EDGE credits. When they were challenged by a group of taxpayers for giving out more incentives than state law allows, the department looked to have the case thrown out, saying citizens can’t sue the state for overspending.

Timothy Sandefur is the vice president for litigation at the nonprofit Goldwater Institute, which recently came out in favor of the taxpayer. Their amicus brief says the Supreme Court case isn’t over Illinois’ overspending but what qualifies a taxpayer to challenge misuse of state funds in a court of law.

“It’s about whether this kind of a lawsuit can be brought to begin with,” Sandefur said. “Whether taxpayers have the right to sue in cases like this.”

Lawyers for the state argue that the taxpayer can only sue for a misuse of funds that they will have to repay. The state’s request that the taxpayer prove their own taxes will go up, Sandefur says, is nearly impossible.

“How can I really prove that the government’s misbehavior is going to increase my taxes in April?” he asked.

State lawyers argued in their August brief to the Supreme Court that the plaintiffs haven’t even proven that the money was illegally disbursed. They said the plaintiffs’ legitimacy in the case “cannot be squared with the longstanding requirement that the taxpayer plaintiff identify an allegedly unlawful disbursement of treasury funds.”

Two of the private citizens in the lawsuit are employed by the Illinois Policy Institute, of which the Illinois News Network is an independent project.

Article source: Supreme Court

EmailEmail
PrintPrint
WP Socializer Aakash Web