The corrupt Illinois legislature is back in the news, with the out-of-state wine ban we’ve mentioned before about to take effect.
For some reason, the state legislature decided that Illinoisans should not be allowed to have wine shipped to them from Internet wine shops and out-of-state wine stores. On June 1, the law will strip Illinois wine lovers of the right to buy wine from out-of-state wine stores; that’s a right they’ve had for 15 years.
Why do such a silly thing? How about $6.3 million. This is how much Illinois liquor distributors have paid in campaign contributions to Illinois politicians since 2000. You see, liquor distributors don’t like it when they don’t get a cut of the sale. When you buy that special bottle of wine from an Internet retailer, the distributors don’t bring it into the state, so they don’t get a cut of the sale. So the liquor distributors wrote a law, found a few friends in the legislature to introduce it and voila . . . you lost your rights.
It turns out that in the course of losing your right to access the wines you want so distributors can have their profits protected, Illinois has given up millions of dollars in tax revenue that would have come from taxing Internet sales of wine. Hey, who needs a few roads fixed any way? And who needs more funding for schools? Priorities, you know?
Here are the main villains in this tale:
According to FollowTheMoney.Org, a Web site that tracks state campaign contributions, this law’s lead sponsor, Rep. Edward Acevedo (D-Chicago), has received $32,000 from alcohol wholesalers since 2000, including $10,000 since the legislation was introduced last year. Senate sponsor James Clayborne Jr. (D-Belleville) has received $85,000 from alcohol wholesaler interests since 2000, including $15,000 since the legislation was introduced. Since 2002, Gov. Rod Blagojevich has received more than $500,000—just from alcohol wholesalers in Illinois, $50,000 of which was given to him since he signed the bill into law.