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Illinois Republicans flirting with cigarette tax hike for Obamacare — and a reminder about Orrin Hatch

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By Michelle Malkin  •  May 21, 2012 11:03 AM

Color me completely unsurprised.

House Minority Leader Tom Cross responded to a post published Friday on National Review online which alleges Cross is on the verge of cutting a Medicaid deal with Governor Quinn and Illinois Democrats that could involve a cigarette tax hike. Joshua Culling writes about Quinn’s plan:

It’s another piece of tax-and-spend legislation to add to Quinn’s failed legacy. But at least in the past, Illinois’s Republican leadership avoided the political disaster of putting their fingerprints on legislation such as Quinn’s $7 billion income-tax increase. This time, Tom Cross seems content to cut a deal that will further imperil Illinois’s economic outlook while simultaneously eroding the national party’s messaging on the toxicity of Obamacare.

If it happens, these Republican regressive tax hikers will be following in the footsteps not only of tax-happy Democrats, but also in the shadow of their Beltway GOP counterparts who voted to raise tobacco taxes to fund the massive S-CHIP expansion.

And hey, you know who the original champion of tobacco taxes-for-federal healthcare mandates is, don’t you?

That’s right: Beltway barnacle Orrin Hatch, who is supported by his Beltway barnacle pal Arlen Specter.

Flashback:

July 7, 2008

(CNSNews.com) – Two senators have proposed increasing the federal tax on tobacco to fund the reauthorization of a program that pays for children’s medical care, a move the tobacco industry says would be unfair and unreliable.

Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) released a statement in June supporting an increase in the tobacco tax to fund the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP), which is due for reauthorization this year. Kennedy and Hatch were the original sponsors of the program when it was created in 1997.

The federal government has spent nearly $40 billion on S-CHIP since its inception, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The program serves approximately 6.6 million children and about 670,000 adults.

Proponents of funding the program from tobacco taxes estimate that an increase in the per-pack cigarette tax by 61 cents — making it an even $1 — would raise $50 billion over the next five years.

Haven’t taxpayers had enough GOP “senior statesman leadership?”

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