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Madigan on cigarette tax hike: “I don’t think it will pass”

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012

* 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.

* Background

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.

* Related…

* 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

- Posted by Rich Miller        

8 Comments
  1. - Mouthy - Thursday, Apr 26, 12 @ 12:04 pm:

    He’d been better off keeping his mouth shut about Medicaid and the Pensions and just let the Speaker run the state.


  2. - Bill - Thursday, Apr 26, 12 @ 12:08 pm:

    I guess that means they are going to cut still another $750 from medicaid. Right?


  3. - Fed up - Thursday, Apr 26, 12 @ 12:13 pm:

    The GOPcant block anything. If Madigan supported this tax it would pass. Madiganid killing it while trying to blame the non existant GOP. Raising cig taxes is about the only good idea to come out of Springfield in years.


  4. - Irish - Thursday, Apr 26, 12 @ 12:29 pm:

    Or is this a ploy? Madigan appears to be ready to let Hospitals and Dr.s take it on the chin with reductions in Medicaid reimbursements and it is all Quinn’s deal. The only out is to pass the cigarette tax to reduce the effect and the Repubs have to come back to him and say they are for it. Then he says “Okay if that’s what you want, I will back it.” And nothing sticks to him.

    He is just letting them know now that he might be for it but they have to do all the work.


  5. - Demoralized - Thursday, Apr 26, 12 @ 2:02 pm:

    The Republicans really are useless in the General Assembly. It’s so nice to see them being part of any solutions. They just like to whine about problems. They have no ideas. Probably why they will never go anywhere in the near future in Illinois.


  6. - Robert - Thursday, Apr 26, 12 @ 3:18 pm:

    Gov. Quinn has shown leadership with these proposals, and yet Madigan still holds more power than Quinn. If Madigan can’t get enough votes from Democrats to pass the cigarette tax hike, I wonder what Madigan thinks he can do to raise / cut $670 million or whether he has another idea to put off tough decisions. He is a master of this.


  7. - OurMagician - Thursday, Apr 26, 12 @ 3:25 pm:

    Sounds like another, pass a budget, get out of town, Governor proposes cuts, areas that get cut outraged, GA returns, restores funding, runs for reelection, repeat.


  8. - dave - Thursday, Apr 26, 12 @ 4:28 pm:

    **Madigan appears to be ready to let Hospitals and Dr.s take it on the chin with reductions in Medicaid reimbursements and it is all Quinn’s deal. The only out is to pass the cigarette tax to reduce the effect and the Repubs have to come back to him and say they are for it.**

    Quinn’s Medicaid plan includes massive rate cuts to providers AND the cigarette tax.


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