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12/11/97 COUNTY COOK v. VILLAGE ROSEMONT

December 11, 1997

COUNTY OF COOK, A BODY POLITIC AND CORPORATE, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
VILLAGE OF ROSEMONT, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT, AND JAM PRODUCTIONS, LTD., AN ILLINOIS CORPORATION, DEFENDANT.



APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY. HONORABLE LESTER BONAGURO, JUDGE PRESIDING.

Released for Publication January 22, 1998.

The Honorable Justice Wolfson delivered the opinion of the court. Cerda, P.j. and McNAMARA, J., concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wolfson

The Honorable Justice WOLFSON delivered the opinion of the court:

This case represents a turf war between Cook County and the Village of Rosemont. The County imposes a tax from patrons of places of amusement--charging owners, managers, and operators with the duty of collecting the taxes. Rosemont owns, manages, and controls places of amusement. It does not want the tax to be collected at those places and it said so in an ordinance.

Our decision in this case does not resolve the dispute. Hopefully, it will get it back on track.

BACKGROUND

On November 22, 1996, Cook County (the County) enacted an Amusement Tax Ordinance, effective February 1, 1997, (amended on March 18, 1997). The ordinance imposed a 3% tax on the patrons of any "amusement" (as that term was defined in the ordinance) that took place in the County. The ordinance also made it the duty of "every owner, manager, or operator of an amusement ... to secure from each patron the tax imposed" and register as a tax collector.

The Village of Rosemont (the Village), as owner of certain Village facilities, including the Rosemont Horizon, the Rosemont Convention Center, and the Rosemont Theater, opposed the tax. The Village believed that the County tax would "deter persons who promote and produce events such as shows, concerts, and public exhibitions from booking such events" at the Village facilities and thereby reduce revenue to the Village.

The Village, however, did not bring an action against the County to challenge the tax. Rather, the Village enacted its own ordinance (Village of Rosemont Ordinance No. 97-1-8) with the specific and stated intention of creating a conflict with the County Ordinance. The Village ordinance provided that the Village of Rosemont and its officers and employees "shall not" collect the County Amusement Tax "from any person who attends or participates in an amusement that occurs at a Village facility." The Rosemont Ordinance also affirmatively stated that persons attending an amusement at a Village facility "shall not be subject to the County Amusement Tax."

The Village enacted its ordinance in reliance on article VII, sections 6(a) and (c) of the Illinois Constitution, which state in pertinent part:

"(a) Except as limited by this Section, a home rule unit may exercise any power and perform any function pertaining to its government and affairs, including, but not limited to, the power to regulate for the protection of the public health, safety morals and welfare; to license; to tax; and to incur debt.

***

(c) If a home rule county ordinance conflicts with an ordinance of a municipality, the municipal ordinance shall ...


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