Commissioner Suffredin’s Statement Opposing President Todd Stroger’s Blanket Authority to Borrow or Refinance up to $3.75 Billion. Some of the borrowed money would be used to meet operating obligations.
Sadly twelve members of the Cook County Board, including four Republicans and eight Democrats passed a blanket Bonding Authority that allows President Todd Stroger to borrow or refinance up to $3.75 Billion without prior Board approval of the borrowing and to use the proceeds for operating obligations.
I along with Commissioners Forrest Claypool and Mike Quigley opposed this proposal. Our objections where based upon “prudent financial management standards” that would require President Stroger to obtain Board approval before any borrowing and would not allow borrowing for operating obligations. Our counter proposal would also have allowed for tax relief based upon any savings caused by refinancing existing debt.
As the three of us fought for these basic principles the other Commissioners passed window dressing amendments to make it appear they were meeting our concerns. In the end, though, their amendments did not change the basic premise of the borrowing authority: Todd Stroger has the sole authority to borrow or refinance up to $3.75 billion and he can use the proceeds to meet operating expenses. Todd Stroger is also under no obligation to use any savings to offer meaningful tax relief to our citizens.
As the financial markets continue to go through difficult times this is absolutely the wrong thing to do. This action will not stabilize our government’s future it will put us in a precarious position that could lead to financial problems for decades to come.
In the last year, I have fought hard to limit President Stroger’s control over County government. I sponsored the action that lead to taking control from Stroger of key governmental services at the Cook County Bureau of Health and the Juvenal Temporary Detention Center. These actions have removed Stroger’s control from over more than $1.1 Billion in spending and over 7,000 jobs. Authority for these services have been given to either an Independent Governance Board or the Chief Judge. I will continue to do what is right to protect the Taxpayers of Cook County.