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Cook County Budget Statement - 2-22-07

As we begin voting on the 2007 Cook County Budget, I want to thank you for all the comments and support I have received. I will keep you posted on the final negotiations and voting as it happens on my website www.suffredin.org

On February 14, 2007, I and eleven other Commissioners introduced a comprehensive budget amendment that restores nearly $70 million in services to the citizens of Cook County. Today the same group will introduce a more focused revised amendment.  The service restorations and management cuts will positively improve public safety and public health programs that impact the lives of nearly 2 million of the 5.4 million people who live in Cook County.

The funds for the restoration come from revenue raised by actions of the County Board in the last two weeks that raised $30 million.

There are also $40 million in job reductions of non-service providers caused by cutting the excessive management of certain departments.

The revised amendment will open the discussion with President Todd Stroger on finalizing a 2007 budget before the deadline of February 28, 2007.

The revised amendment was the work of all sponsoring commissioners and builds on plan that President Stroger presented in his budge address on January 16, 2007.

In my time on the Board, this is the first time that the majority of Commissioners has acted as a truly independent legislative body.

In addition to the Commissioners who worked on this amendment, many County employees and their representatives shared their thoughts and expertise in developing the final product.  Many Cook County citizens came to four public hearings and over 1,000 people presented ideas for improving the County.

I also held a District 13 meeting to get advice from over 100 local residents on budget issues.

The final Cook County Budget will contain a reduction in force of over 500 jobs. This will cause great pain and distress for many good workers and their families. But the decisions to be made must also protect the frontline employees that provide direct service to our community. Currently there is neither enough revenue to continue the status quo, nor is the status quo desirable.

The next step is to present this revised amendment to the Finance Committee today, February 22, 2007. Thank you again for your interest.

A copy of our revised amendment will be posted here when it is available.

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