Blagojevich Will Present Budget Today
Springfield, Ill. – Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich will present his plan to lawmakers today (Wed.) for funding state government for the next year.
He's expected to propose saving money by re-working the pension system for state workers. Specifically, he wants to reduce benefits for new hires.
The governor is also expected to propose raising the cigarette tax by $0.75 a pack, according to the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times.
The state currently collects $0.98 a pack in taxes on cigarettes. The proposal would raise that to $1.73 (a 76% increase).
The Tribune also reports that the budget includes only $140 million in new money for education. That's down from the $400 million in new education dollars Blagojevich put in each of his first two budget proposals.
The governor will detail his 2006 spending plan before a joint session of the General Assembly this afternoon.