The media reception to Governor Pat Quinn's Medicaid budget reforms has been mostly favorable. But again I return to the proposed $1-a-pack hike in the state cigarette tax to pay for Medicaid. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and some public health groups project that this tax will bring in at least $300 million a year.
But as I've explained many times before, steep increases in smoking taxes lead some people to kick the habit--or circumventing by purchasing cigarettes in other states or on the internet. Even a Democrat is predicting cross-state cigarette purchases, which of course will harm Illinois retailers. In short, revenue from smoking taxes eventually goes down. Besides, there's a grifter culture in my state that goes far beyond the two predecessors of Quinn who awake each morning in a federal prison.
Then what? It could be back to business as usual in the Prairie State, which has anywhere from $5 billion to $9 billion in unpaid bills.
IL comptroller: Unpaid bills could be as high as $9 billion
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