Governor Pat Quinn on Monday praised the first piece of legislation aimed at cutting billions of dollars from the state’s program of health care for the poor. As Brian Mackey reports, the governor says he’ll focus on that — and ignore most other issues:
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With just 10 days left in the scheduled legislative session, the governor is renewing his push to cut $2.7 billion from Medicaid. He’s also pressuring lawmakers to cut retirement benefits for state and university employees and public school teachers.
Quinn says he’s not going to be distracted by other issues, like a move to expand casino gambling and install slot machines at horse racetracks, even though advocates say it would bring in sorely needed tax money.
QUINN: “Sometimes down here, shiny objects can distract people. We don’t want any of that this week. We want two things this week — real focus on: that’s pension reform and Medicaid restructuring. This is vital to our state.”
One of the more controversial proposals related to Medicaid has been a dollar-a-pack increase in the cigarette tax. Quinn says it’s important, not only as a source of revenue, but as a way to discourage young people from taking up smoking.
I’m Brian Mackey.