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Ill. cigarette tax passes, pension plan surfaces

Posted by wlpo on May 29, 2012

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – Illinois smokers would pay an additional $1 a pack under a plan approved Tuesday by Illinois lawmakers looking for new money to pump into the state’s wobbly Medicaid system,

The tax increase was sent to the governor’s desk, where about $1.6 billion in spending cuts for the health program already await approval. Gov. Pat Quinn said Medicaid has been saved “from the brink of collapse.”

Lawmakers also took a small step on another big issue when House Democrats released their plan to rein in state pension costs. It would reduce pension benefits for government retirees and gradually require schools to take over retirement costs for their employees.

The pension plan passed in a House committee but was not called for a vote by the full chamber.

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