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Stroger to detail his $100 million budget-cut plan

Friday, January 19, 2007
Chicago Tribune
by Mickey Ciokajlo

Cook County Board President Todd Stroger on Tuesday will submit amendments to his 2007 budget proposal outlining more than $100 million in cuts that were previously unidentified, a spokesman said Thursday.

Stroger will detail the cuts in budget amendments submitted during a special meeting Tuesday morning of the County Board's Finance Committee.
Since Stroger released his $3 billion budget earlier this week, he has been under pressure to spell out $107 million in "target adjustments" that were not identified in the spending plan.

Stroger has said that he will not raise taxes to close a projected $500 million deficit. His budget plan so far has called for closing 16 health clinics, laying off 450 workers and eliminating entire departments in the sheriff's and state's attorney's offices, among other cuts.

Employees ranging from public defenders to doctors and nurses have staged protests this week, and more are expected. The uncertainty of the $107 million in unspecified cuts has created a high level of anxiety throughout the county, said County Commissioner Larry Suffredin (D-Evanston).

Earlier Thursday, Suffredin and Commissioner Forrest Claypool (D-Chicago) called on Stroger to delay public hearings until Stroger identified the remainder of the cuts.

Stroger spokesman Steve Mayberry said there were no plans to delay the public hearings.

The first of four public hearings is scheduled for Tuesday evening at the county courthouse in Markham.

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