* Subscribers were told about this earlier today…
Though he supports the move, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan said Wednesday he believes a plan to jack the state’s cigarette tax will have trouble passing.
“I would support an increase in the cigarette tax, especially for the Medicaid program,'’ Madigan said. “The Republican position to date is against, so I don’t think it will pass.”
That’s pretty much that, unless Madigan can be convinced to twist some arms. I don’t see it happening right now, though.
House Republicans have been hesitant to support a cigarette tax increase, instead urging Quinn to make good on his initial call for $2.7 billion in spending cuts to Medicaid. Republican Rep. Patti Bellock of Hinsdale, who worked on a Medicaid cut panel, said she does not support the hike and does not see “a lot of support” among House Republicans.
The Senate has passed cigarette tax increases twice in recent years, only to see the proposals stall in the House, where some Democrats joined Republicans in opposition.
Democrats who control the General Assembly face potential backlash from voters for increasing the personal income tax rate 67 percent last year. In turn, GOP lawmakers largely have staked out opposition to tax hikes, and they have called for more cuts in the Medicaid program before increasing any taxes.
Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson called the governor’s cigarette tax hike a responsible way to stave off the collapse of the state’s Medicaid program. Anderson said failing to straighten out the program would be “disastrous.”
“Hesitant” is a charitable word usage. “Adamantly opposed” would be more like it.
* And Gov. Quinn continued to defend his Medicaid plan…
Gov. Pat Quinn defended his proposed Medicaid cuts Wednesday, even in the face of a new report that claims more than 25,000 jobs will be lost if his plan is enacted.
In an appearance before the editorial board of The State Journal-Register, Quinn also said he will be “reminding” some lawmakers of their previous votes in favor of cigarette tax increases.
Quinn repeated that a $2.7 billion hole in the Medicaid program must be plugged this spring in order to keep the program that provides health care to the poor operating.
“It is on the verge of collapse,” Quinn said.
* Study: Medicaid cuts would hurt IL economy
* Editorial: Quinn in the lead on big issues
* VIDEO: Gov. Quinn on the benefits of a $1 cigarette tax increase