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.