Gov. Pat Quinn says saving the Illinois Medicaid program will require cutting services, raising cigarette taxes and cutting payments to health-care providers.
Aides to the Democratic governor told The Associated Press on Thursday that Quinn is proposing a cigarette tax increase of $1 per pack. They expect the tax to generate about $337 million, which would then be matched by the federal government.
The state with the lowest tax on cigarettes? No, not tobacco country -- Virginia or North Carolina. It's Missouri, with a tax of just 17 cents a pack. The national average is a buck and a half. But health advocates are pushing a ballot initiative to increase the levy in Missouri.
This one would raise it to 75 percent of the current national average – in other words, from 17 cents per pack to $1.09-1/2 cents per pack. Missouri’s tax per pack would also rise or fall as the national average changes, and it would require a referendum by Missouri voters to take effect. The bill was filed by State Rep. Jeanette Mott Oxford (D, St. Louis), who spoke in favor of raising the cigarette tax during budget debates on Thursday.
Former University of Missouri interim president dies
The interim president of the University of Missouri system in 2007 and 2008 died Monday. Gordon Lamb was 77.
Lamb also served as the president of Northeast Illinois University in Chicago and the interim chancellor of University of Wisconsin-Parkside, the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg.
Current interim president Steve Owens released a statement Thursday night, announcing Lamb's death.
Mo. Senator wants to increase cigarette tax and eliminate state income tax for low income people
Republican state Sen. John Lamping, of Ladue, has filed legislation that would exempt anyone earning less than $2,000 from having to pay state income tax and slightly lower the taxes for people earning more than that. His legislation would offset the projected $128 million reduction in state income tax revenues by increasing the cigarette tax to 43 cents per pack.
Missouri's current cigarette tax of 17 cents per pack is the lowest in the nation.
The 2012 Missouri legislative session is underway, and much of the first-day talk revolved around the challenges facing the state’s public schools.
In addition to Missouri’s K-12 schools not being fully funded, suburban school districts near St. Louis and Kansas City may be forced to accept thousands of transfer students from the inner cities, thanks to the State Supreme Court’s ruling in Turner v. Clayton. House Speaker Steven Tilley (R, Perryville) says any solutions to those problems should include tuition tax credits for kids in unaccredited areas, and statewide expansion of charter schools.
The University of Missouri has chosen its next president and expects to announce its decision next week. Board of Curators chairman Warren Erdman says a search committee began with a pool of more than 100 candidates from academic and non-academic backgrounds alike.
"We had four interviews and we worked our way down to a couple second interviews," Erdman said. "Then there were a few telephone follow-ups. In the end, the committee recommended a single finalist."
The United Auto Workers announced Tuesday that GM plans to invest $380 million and bring more than 1,800 jobs to its Wentzville plant as part of a proposed contract with the union.
Mayor Paul Lambi says he's hoping the union will ratify the contract on Monday.
"The announcement made by the UAW seems to be a positive indication that contract negotiations went well," said Lambi. " And it seems to me that I would expect that contract to be approved and ratified."