Suffredin- Changing County Government  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
  Last year more people used the County's forest preserves than visited Yellowstone National Park.
   
     
     
     



County budget blasted by everyone

Saturday, January 07, 2006
Daily Southtown
by Jonathan Lipman

Cook County leaders got it from both sides Friday during a public hearing about the proposed 2006 county budget.

Health advocates praised a $1 increase in the cigarette tax while tobacco sellers warned of dire consequences. Union leaders said more employees were needed, while government watchdogs urged further cuts.

Commissioners gave the coldest shoulder to tobacco distributors and the Civic Federation, a watchdog group, both of whom criticized the increased tax.

The cigarette tax, which will also be expanded to other kinds of tobacco for the first time, is expected to generate $75 million for the county and is the only tax increase.

The $3.1 billion budget would cut 82 vacant positions from the county's 25,400-person work force.

Tobacco distributor lobbyist Harry Kelley said distributors would lose business to neighboring counties and too high a tax would lead to a black market on cigarettes.

"We'll create an illicit atmosphere," Kelley said. "You don't want to go back to Prohibition."

"How do you explain that you made these same claims two years ago (when the county raised the cigarette tax) ... and they weren't true?" Commissioner Roberto Maldonado (D-Chicago) replied.

Cigar distributor Mike Gold said the county's tax on cigars and pipe tobacco will not generate as much revenue as the county projects and it will be impossible to enforce.

"This is a brand new tax, there's no history," Gold said. "It will be extremely cumbersome for us."

County revenue director Barbara Bruno said calculating the tax is not difficult with current technology and the county researched its projections thoroughly. She plans to handle collection of the tax with no additional staff.

Representatives of the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association endorsed the tax increase as a way to curb smoking.

"This is a win-win both for public health and the taxpayers of Cook County," the cancer society's Ermilo Barerra said.

Cook County nurses said public health was at risk from cuts proposed for the county health bureau. About three dozen nurses rallied outside the county building before the hearing, carrying signs that read "Budget cuts = Patient disaster."

"We have a shortage of nursing staff," Stroger Hospital nurse Bernice Faulkner said. "We don't even have enough staff to address our own policies."

Health bureau chief Daniel Winship said the county is better at hiring nurses than other hospitals in Chicago. But he said the hospitals have "a difficult time" finding enough staff.

"We don't claim that we're overstaffed and we struggle with the staffing issue of nurses," Winship said.

Other union employees also showed up at the county hearing to protest cuts. But Civic Federation president Laurence Msall said further cuts were needed. The federation is opposing the county budget for the third year in a row.

"Your personnel costs are out of control and growing at a rate no revenue source can fix," Msall said.

Commissioners challenged Msall, especially his recommendation that the county eliminate its systems of automatic regular "step increases" that bump up employee pay based on seniority and in addition to an annual cost-of-living increase.

"The step increases were implemented to try and bring some of our employees ... up to a livable situation," said Commissioner Deborah Sims (D-Chicago). "They're still making far less than other municipal employees."



Recent Headlines

Higher Assessments Hit North Suburban Commercial Property Owners
Thursday, July 11, 2019
Evanston Patch

How did an inmate get a loaded gun into Cook County Jail?
Thursday, July 11, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Check exemptions, file an appeal: What you can do to fight your Cook County property tax bill
Thursday, July 11, 2019
WGN Chicago

’A lack of mental health services has plagued Chicago for decades’: Holy Cross Hospital expanding to fill that void on the Southwest Side
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
Chicago Tribune

How To Appeal Your Cook County Property Tax Assessment
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
CBS Chicago

County Commission Hopes to Increase 2020 Census Participation
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
WTTW News

Cook County Property Tax Bills: Where Does Your Money Go?
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
CBS Chicago

Seniors Receive Inflated Property Tax Bills By Mistake
Tuesday, July 09, 2019
WBBM Radio

Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts’ property tax appeal under investigation after Tribune finds assessment problem
Tuesday, July 09, 2019
Chicago Tribune

North suburban landlords slapped with big assessment hikes
Monday, July 08, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

Miscalculation leads to increased tax bills in Wheeling Township
Friday, July 05, 2019
Daily Herald

Judge rules state legislators violated Illinois Constitution by voting to freeze their pay
Wednesday, July 03, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Search: Chicago Property Tax Increases and Decreases by Ward
Wednesday, July 03, 2019
WTTW News

Millions in Cook County property tax refunds going to homeowners whose bills show no balance due
Monday, July 01, 2019
ABC 7 Chicago

Why 7,600 property owners in suburban Cook County are getting tax refunds
Monday, July 01, 2019
Daily Herald

$25 million in property tax refunds going to 25,000 owners
Monday, July 01, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Illinois hiring hundreds to reduce Medicaid backlogs
Monday, July 01, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

County health officials say IG report was ‘simply wrong’ even as commissioners plan hearings on system’s finances
Thursday, June 27, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County sheriff’s office warns of phone scam
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Homeowners Across Chicago Brace for Higher Property Taxes
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
WTTW News

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP