The veteran Southwest Side Democrat told reporters he supports a cigarette tax hike for Medicaid. But House Republicans "to date" have opposed the idea, Madigan said.
"I don't think it'll pass," he said.
The comments came after Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn last week proposed increasing the state's 98-cents-per-pack cigarette tax by $1. It's part of the governor's plan to get spending under control for the state's nearly $15 billion Medicaid program. Quinn has suggested $1.4 billion in coverage cuts, $675 million in reductions to hospitals and doctors, and $675 million generated from the cigarette tax increase.
House Republicans have been hesitant to support a cigarette tax increase, instead urging Quinn to make good on his initial call for $2.7 billion in spending cuts to Medicaid. Republican Rep. Patti Bellock of Hinsdale, who worked on a Medicaid cut panel, said she does not support the hike and does not see "a lot of support" among House Republicans.
The Senate has passed cigarette tax increases twice in recent years, only to see the proposals stall in the House, where some Democrats joined Republicans in opposition.
Democrats who control the General Assembly face potential backlash from voters for increasing the personal income tax rate 67 percent last year. In turn, GOP lawmakers largely have staked out opposition to tax hikes, and they have called for more cuts in the Medicaid program before increasing any taxes.
Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson called the governor's cigarette tax hike a responsible way to stave off the collapse of the state's Medicaid program. Anderson said failing to straighten out the program would be "disastrous."
•Also Wednesday, a House committee approved a measure to prevent judges from awarding court supervision to speeders caught driving more than 25 mph over the limit on an urban road or 30 mph over on a highway. The legislation is the outgrowth of an Orland Park crash last year that killed a 17-year-old Frankfort girl. Police said a 21-year-old man who had kept his driving privileges despite a history of traffic citations was driving at least 36 mph over the speed limit when he slammed into a Jeep in which the victim was a passenger.
•Two proposed constitutional amendments advanced. The Senate sent a crime victims proposal to the House. Madigan's proposal to require a three-fifths vote to increase pension benefits moved to the full Senate. Democrats are seeking to put both before voters in November, and Republicans question why they can't get a vote on their proposal to ask voters to make it harder to increase taxes.
Tribune reporter Ashley Rueff contributed.
Fugitives bill sent to Quinn
SPRINGFIELD — Criminal charges could be filed against a fugitive's spouse, parent and other close relatives who help him flee to avoid prosecution under a bill the Illinois House overwhelmingly sent to the governor Wednesday.
The measure is inspired by a Tribune investigation that showed relatives helped fugitives leave the United States and remain free even in cases where people were killed.
Illinois is one of 14 states that exempt close relatives from criminal charges in such cases, a point underscored in the Tribune series "Fugitives From Justice," which this month was named a Pulitzer Prize finalist for investigative reporting. The new legislation would make it a felony for close relatives 18 and older to aid fugitives.
"You have responsibility as parent or a sibling or close relative not to take affirmative action to help someone escape a jurisdiction," said sponsoring Rep. Sid Mathias, R-Buffalo Grove.
The House voted 114-0 to send the measure to Gov. Pat Quinn, who seems poised to sign it into law after a review.
"Just as the governor strongly believes that those who are convicted of a crime must pay the consequences, anyone who aids them in fleeing law enforcement should also be held accountable for their actions," said Quinn spokeswoman Annie Thompson.
The Tribune documented the case of Carlos Castillo, who fled to Mexico in 2009 shortly before authorities charged him in a hit-and-run vehicle accident that killed student Rachel Gilliam. Castillo's mother arranged for him to stay in Mexico with relatives, drove Castillo to the Greyhound station and has periodically sent him money and visited, according to Tribune interviews with Castillo and his mother.
In another case, law enforcement sources said the father of Muaz Haffar bought a plane ticket so Haffar could flee to Syria after being charged in 2005 with killing student Tombol Malik. The father, Dr. Nabil Haffar, has denied buying the ticket.