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Cook County Board should make cuts, not raise taxes

Friday, October 14, 2005
Daily Southtown
by Frances Street

In response to the Oct. 6 article by Jonathan Lipman ("Stroger says new taxes 'on the table'):

With the anticipated escalation of home heating costs this winter — estimates range from between 50 percent to 70 percent more than last winter — and the current increase of gasoline prices affecting the prices of all delivered goods, not to mention the economic impact that Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have had, the last thing we need is a tax increase by any governing body to cover its fiscal mismanagement.

Even with my husband's 3 percent annual pay increase, which is anticipated but not guaranteed, we will need to make adjustments in our spending to cover these increases, while still providing the necessities for our family and keeping our budget healthy. Many families will also face these problems.

Cook County officials may need "new revenue," but their job, if they choose to actually do it, should be to spend the current revenue wisely and responsibly. Mr. Stroger, cuts can always be made if you look hard enough. You might consider a cut in the salaries of overpaid county officials and department heads, and work down from there. They say "it" runs downhill, so let's start at the top and go from there.

Mr. Stroger, you may "enjoy being president" of the county board, but you were not elected to enjoy yourself. You were elected to do the right thing by your constituents in Cook County. You were elected to make hard choices, not friends.

You may not be willing to sell your soul to be president, but apparently you have no qualms about pillaging the pockets of the families in Cook County to cover your fiscal mismanagement.

Raising taxes is always the easy way out of any governmental money problems. Mr. Stroger, last year you raised the taxes on cigarette purchases in the county. Have you already squandered the millions you received from that tax hike?

If you and the county board members are unwilling to make the necessary cuts to balance our county budget, perhaps the voters will make the necessary cuts come election time.

Frances Street is a Midlothian resident.

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