Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka is joining the call for higher cigarette taxes in Illinois, but she has a few conditions. The Republican says she would support the increase only if it's accompanied by gambling expansion, including a Chicago casino and slot machines at race tracks. Topinka says it should be tied to significant spending cuts. She says ending the state budget crisis requires bringing in more revenue as well as cutting costs. Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn wants to nearly double the cigarette tax, to $1.98 a pack, as one part of closing a $2.7 billion hole in the Medicaid health program. Many Republicans oppose the idea.
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