* This is a classic media overstatement about a legislative proposal…
Taxing junk food and cigarettes could save Illinois much-needed money, according to the Illinois Hospital Association.
On the line are 19,000 jobs that could be eliminated as Illinois Governor Pat Quinn tries to cut back on Medicaid costs.
“They’ve shown a link between these sugary beverages and obesity and thus diabetes,” said Jeni Tackett, a registered dietician with Trinity-Bettendorf.
Tackett says taxing sodas and energy drinks would force people to think differently about what they’re putting into their bodies.
A penny per ounce tax would generate maybe $13 million a year in tax revenues. Gov. Quinn is talking about $2.7 billion in Medicaid cuts. This is just one tiny aspect of the Illinois Hospital Association’s proposal to forestall those cuts…
The hospital association will “vigorously” fight any cuts to Medicaid payments to hospitals, she said. Such payment cuts could result in the closure of struggling hospitals, leaving Illinois with more “health care deserts,” such as in East St. Louis, which already lost its only hospital.
“This is not a haircut; $2 billion is a scalp,” [Illinois Hospital Association chief Maryjane Wurth] said.
More on what the IHA wants…
Hospitals would pay a tax on outpatient gross revenues, which would generate a $240 million federal match per year. That would result in $480 million a year to Medicaid providers, including hospitals, nursing homes and providers of services for people with developmental disabilities. […]
Q. You also propose increasing revenues for Medicaid by raising cigarette taxes from the current 98 cents a pack, adding a tax on junk food and increasing the sales tax on soft drinks.
The cigarette tax hike would bring in $377 million. All all that up and you’re talking real money. But still not enough to forestall all those cuts. And “tax” is now a four-letter word in Illinois since the income tax was raised. It’s a tough road.
* And speaking of cuts, this is gonna be a very grim year…
Women’s health advocates fear that waiting lists for a state-funded screening program will grow if Illinois officials cut even more from the program in the next fiscal year.
Waiting lists that have developed in recent months for uninsured women seeking medical tests and examinations through the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program may not be eliminated despite $1.4 million in supplemental grants sent out this week, program director Jean Becker said Friday.
Advocates are concerned that Gov. Pat Quinn, in his fiscal 2013 budget address Wednesday, may propose even deeper cuts for the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program.
“I’m very worried about it,” said Anne Marie Murphy, executive director of the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force. “The funding for this year’s program was woefully inadequate.”
* And here’s a grim budget roundup…
* Quinn wants all state offices, agencies to cut budgets by 9 percent
* Quinn wants major Medicaid cuts
* Unions may have to choose between salaries, pensions: As Gov. Pat Quinn prepares his budget address for Wednesday, the president of the Illinois Senate says state workers might have to compromise between salary increases and pension benefits… “AFSCME’s at the table. They know that. How can they ask for a pay raise for their salaries when they know all of the extra money the state will be bringing in this year as a result of normal growth will go to pensions?” he said.
* Quinn to call for spending cuts, action on bills: But it’s not clear whether Quinn will present detailed proposals for solving those problems when he speaks Wednesday. Quinn aides said he will “lay out all the options” and “put the options out there.” Anderson did say Quinn is not counting on cutting pension costs in the upcoming budget and that the state will make its full contribution to the retirement systems for government employees.
* Quinn plans to cut state budget to 2008 levels
* Quinn Proposes $50 Million For Illinois Scholarship Program: Governor Quinn says he will close facilities and make cuts to other departments to cover the costs of the educational investments. St. Sen. Mike Jacobs says he wants to know where the cuts will fall, before he gives the governor his support. “If he’s going to make some additional dollars spent toward education, I want to know exactly what he’s going to cut,” said Jacobs.
* Editorial: You’ll know Quinn is serious if …
* Editorial: What Illinoisans need to hear in budget talk
* 8 things to look for in Quinn’s budget address
* Illinois Gov. Quinn Outlines State’s Budget Priorities
* Quinn’s budget speech could set stage for ‘ugly year’: “I can’t imagine he’s going to go down the road of closing correctional facilities because we are overcrowded,” said Sen. Larry Bomke, R-Springfield. “I felt that was an empty threat last fall.”
* Quinn’s No. 2 calls for cuts to her own budget
* Governor Pat Quinn to Announce Budget Plan: Senator Dave Syverson (R-Rockford) said, “If the talk is only about making the deep cuts and we never get around to really addressing the core problems, then I think we’re just going to continue to just exist as opposed to flourish like we really should be doing.”
* Frerichs expects Quinn to propose cutting regional superintendents
* Commission may decide fate of regional superintendents: “Nobody is aware of who we are and what we do. We constantly have to educate people about who we are and what we do.”
* Ill. treasurer suggests 5-year plan for facilities
* llinois school officials concerned about talk of shifting pension costs: Whatever costs Quinn wants passed along to the school district would sting. The Quincy School Board met last week to seek ways to eliminate $2.2 million in carried-over deficit in its Education Fund.
* Lottery retailers say online sales will be bad for business