Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  

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:  

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


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

  Cook County is the second most populous county in the nation. It is the 19th largest government in the U.S.

Crony taxes and the poor

Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Chicago Tribune

Cook County commissioners are nearing a vote to cheat the health-care needs of their poorest citizens. All because board President John Stroger would rather keep funding his costly patronage army than devote needed dollars to the medical care of the people he pretends to protect.

The vote, likely in early February, will ask board members to approve Stroger's proposed $3 billion county budget for 2006.

Cook County government long ago reached the point that cronyism--jobs for relatives and friends, contracts for relatives and friends, shabby treatment for everyone else--stripped too many dollars away from county services. That amounts to a hidden crony tax, like the unofficial corruption tax that also siphons off money needed for county programs. Taxpayers can no longer afford the crony and corruption taxes.

Case in point: Federal prosecutors are probing a seamy case in which a west suburban contractor allegedly passed a $20,000 bribe to a county purchasing official to help secure a $49 million equipment contract at Stroger Hospital. The feds have wielded other charges and subpoenas in the case, so it's not yet clear where the investigation will lead. What is clear is that, had the alleged scheme succeeded, county taxpayers would have been the victims.

The steady cascade of news reports about county favors for insiders, along with the growing list of corruption investigations in county government, should motivate the commissioners to wise up. And it should motivate voters to pay attention to the differences between Stroger and his opponent in the March 21 Democratic primary, Commissioner Forrest Claypool.

Claypool wants to downsize the county's vast workforce of administrators and other paper-shufflers. That would free up more dollars for poor people's health care.

Last year the County Board demanded that Stroger's administration consolidate non-medical parts of the county's health bureaucracy--public relations, human resources and so forth. A year later and ... where's the consolidation? Where are the savings that could shorten waiting-room time for patients or fill their prescriptions more efficiently?

Stroger knew a year ago that without massive cost-cutting and aggressive efficiencies, his 2006 budget would balance only if he raised taxes. Yet another year has gone by without the structural savings that are the county's only hope for improving health services.

In a detailed dissection of Stroger's proposed budget, the Civic Federation has nailed the county's serial refusal to reduce personnel costs ( The report cites "missed opportunities for cost-cutting and unfulfilled promises of improved management," a long phrase that could serve as Cook County government's motto. In the words of federation President Laurence Msall, the budget "represents a short-term fix and does nothing to address the county's ongoing structural deficit."

Excellent plans for reforming the county's wasteful ways have been piling up for years, primarily because Stroger's real interest is in protecting the jobs of loyal political workers on the county payroll. As for county taxpayers and the people who rely on Cook County for health care, well, those folks don't count for much in Cook County's priorities.

Recent Headlines

Cook County circuit clerk says city owes $13M in fees
Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Chciago Daily Law Bulletin

Cook County faces $177 million in deficits over next two budget years
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Preckwinkle: Cook County facing 'difficult and challenging' $82 million budget shortfall
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Preckwinkle: $82M Budget Hole Means ‘Difficult Choices’ For Cook County
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

Editorial: A Chicago revival: The Lazarus of Harrison Street
Friday, June 15, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Growing food, community
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Help Squad: Consumers can file lawsuits and other legal documents online —some free via an online fee waiver
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Residents speak out as Wilmette Board introduces minimum wage and sick time ordinances
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

County's bid to avoid attorney fees for paraplegic detainee backfires
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Cook County Forest Preserves Show Off To Visitors At Daley Plaza
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
WBBW News Radio

Peek Inside the Old Cook County Hospital, Vacant for 16 Years
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
NBC Chicago

After 16 years, renovation underway at old Cook County Hospital
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
WGN Television

Officials break ground on $1 billion overhaul of long-vacant Cook County Hospital
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

George Leighton, legendary Chicago judge and courthouse namesake, dies at 105
Thursday, June 07, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

George Leighton, Chicago judge for whom criminal courthouse is named, dies at 105
Wednesday, June 06, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County allows video gambling in unincorporated areas
Wednesday, June 06, 2018
Chicago Tribune lawsuit against Cook County sheriff dismissed
Saturday, June 02, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Dorothy Brown’s office to get federal monitor for hiring practices
Friday, June 01, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Coyote puppies tagged, health work-ups conducted in the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Thursday, May 31, 2018
Special to

EDITORIAL: Justice delayed 16 months — until a reporter starts nosing around
Wednesday, May 30, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

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