Patch Flash: Smokers to Pay Double Taxes for Cigarettes in Illinois

Chicagoland news to talk about: Illinois to cut $1.6 billion from Medicaid program.


The Illinois Senate voted 31-27 Tuesday in favor of raising the state tax on cigarettes by $1, from 98 cents to $1.98 per pack. The House approved the bill Friday, which now heads to the desk of Gov. Pat Quinn, who's been a vocal supporter of the tax hike since the earliest drafts of this year's state budget. 

Illinois legislators have approved $1.6 billion in budget cuts to the state's Medicaid program, which will reduce health coverage for hundreds of thousands of poor Illinois residents. The budget adjustments were passed by a 94-22 vote in the House, and the Senate approved it 44-13 Thursday evening. The plan will raise prescription drug costs for 180,000 low-income seniors by eliminating the state-paid pharmacy assistance program, Illinois Cares Rx, freeing up $72.2 million. Another almost $399.8 million will be saved by making Medicaid and Family Care requirements stricter, rendering hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans ineligible for supplemented care.

Thirty votes were required for passage in the Senate; the measure could come up again during the current session. HB 5290 would have required schools to include a definition of bullying and a statement saying it was against the law. 

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.)'s ex-wife Kimberly Vertolli has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging that the senator may have illegally hidden campaign payments to a consultant, his then-live-in girlfriend. The FEC could yet decide to either dismiss the complaint or begin an investigation into the matter. Kirk, 52, is still recovering from a serious stroke he suffered in January. 

Vortex May 30, 2012 at 07:42 PM
(from the linked article): "But the revenue will surely be a boon for the struggling state. According to the Chicago Tribune, the tax hike would generate $350 million for the state, which would be eligible for a federal matching grant to bring in a total of $700 million." Of course it won't bring in $350 million. None of these tobacco taxes has ever come close to living up to its promises, because sin taxes result in two things -- people stop their "sinful" activity, or the commerce moves underground. Smokers will quit (happened last time, remember?) or they'll find cheaper alternatives elsewhere. Either way, these schemes to balance the budget are always doomed to fail, always have, and always will. Cook County's big tax plan failed miserably, with smokers fleeing to the collar counties to make their purchases, while the revenue claims fell short. Of course here in Illinois, the temporary small revenue boost is always accompanied by a huge increase in spending, thus digging our budget hole even deeper.
Kelly K May 31, 2012 at 01:37 AM
Illinois has just succeeded in increasing revenues for neighboring states like Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri. People will just go there and buy their cartons and bring them here. There isn't going to be any $350 million for IL. I can't believe they actually think that money is going to stay in state! Are they completely high? How about making some intelligent decisions for once! Oops sorry, I forgot we're talking about politicians here, sorry!
Doug Smith May 31, 2012 at 10:43 AM
The only people that voted for this tax were the Democrats...perhaps it's time for Illinois to wake up and change it's lawmakers. All they've done here is hurt small business and consumers to make up for their inability to run the states business. Altria (Philip Morris) paid off several Democrats to help snuff out Roll Your Own stores. They chose to help an outside Corporation to forsake it's own citizens. When will the corruption and stupidity end in Illinois?
Stuart Tindall May 31, 2012 at 11:15 AM
No love for the hated politicians actually cutting 1.6 billion from the budget?
McCloud May 31, 2012 at 10:12 PM
No tax on Kools.
Local May 31, 2012 at 10:43 PM
Typical solution for Illinois politicians, raise a tax somewhere. This ones real sneaky too, not everyone smokes, so the public outcry is muted, because lets face it some people actually believe the nonsense that this will reduce smoking. It's pure hogwash! I know many smokers and not one quit the last time the state decided to pull on this particular teat. All it does is take away discretionary income, that would be spent elsewhere, further stimulating this dismal economy. And as far a helping to keep kids from starting, really? These kids are rolling in discretionary income for the most part, $4+ Cigerette prices is all they know and they gladly pay it. Just another cash grab, that we all know will do little to help the states current fiscal mess! Next it will be pop, then a fast food tax, hey by then maybe the Mighty Quinn will be ready for another 66%....
McCloud May 31, 2012 at 11:04 PM
Are there still fools out there who buy into these Democrat tactics. Spend our money in unsustainable and prodigious amounts, then try picking our pockets more with red light cameras, cigarette taxes to waste on what? More teacher benefits?
Donny June 01, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Illinois smokers won't pay double taxes for their cigs. They will pay taxes to all the surrounding states. WI IA IN MO KY all say thank you Illinois!


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