Suffredin- Changing County Government  

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.

  Eighteen of the 20 largest banks in the world and more than 50 foreign banks have offices in Cook County.

No to taxes, yes to fees
It’s more than semantics for Cook County Board

Saturday, February 10, 2007
Daily Herald
by Rob Olmstead

They’re not taxes. They’re fees.
Got that?
The Cook County Board’s finance committee voted to institute or raise a number of fees Friday, calling them that even though some spirited debate left hazy just what the difference is between a fee and a tax.
The debate started after Chicago Commissioner Roberto Maldonado, a Democrat, amended the wording of three of his income-raising measures, changing the word “tax” to “fee” to try to make them more palatable.
“Am I right that the case law and the Constitution says ‘fee’ cannot be a revenue-generating endeavor but can be a reimbursement to us for a function that we provide?” asked Commisioner Larry Suffredin.
“I would agree with your definition,” said Patrick Driscoll, the chief of the Cook County state’s attorney’s civil division.
By that definition, all of Maldonado’s measures appeared to fail the “fee” test, just as they eventually failed to pass. His proposed fee on SUV sales failed, while a proposed fee on bullet sales didn’t even get a second to be voted on. A motion to charge a fee on sulfur dioxide emissions was deferred to Feb. 20.
But other fees, such as doubling the cost of activities regulated by the county’s environmental control department, including refuse burning and the storing of volatile chemicals, appeared to pass muster with the fee definition. So, too, did a new fee of $500 for the impounding of vehicles used in prostitution and drug sales.
Suffredin said the $500 would reimburse the county for time spent by deputies taken off the street to process impoundment paperwork as well as court costs.
The panel also agreed to a new $1 entrance fee at off-track betting parlors. That was approved before the fee vs. tax debate erupted, so a “fee” it is.
The fee/tax rhetoric may be due in part to Cook County Board President Todd Stroger saying earlier this week that he’s open to fee hikes, but not tax increases.
He voiced support for some of Maldonado’s revenue increases, even though he vowed not to raise taxes during his fall campaign. When told Maldonado had phrased his measures as tax increases, Stroger offered his own definition.
“That doesn’t make it a tax just because he said it,” said Stroger, laughing.
The fee increases still must be officially approved by the county board but are expected to pass, since the finance committee consists of the entire board.

Recent Headlines

Measles Exposure Reported in Chicago
Monday, May 20, 2019

News from the Cook County Health System
Friday, May 17, 2019
Special to

Cook County Health Recognizes Mental Health Awareness Month
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Daily Herald

Skokie plans for road improvements near Edens Expressway: 'It’s desperately needed'
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Skokie Review

5 Chicago hospitals earn D grades for patient safety in new report, Northwestern slips to a B
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Chicago Daily Law Bulletin: Backward Glances
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Cook County Eliminated Its Gang Database, But Advocates Say Harm Continues
Wednesday, May 15, 2019

New Cook County Housing Authority Proposal Targets the 'Missing Middle'
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Evanston RoundTable

Census Citizenship Question Could Hurt Citizens, Noncitizens Alike
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

News from Friends of the Forest Preserves
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Special to

Cook County commissioners get earful about soon-to-be-destroyed gang database
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Detainee dies days after suicide attempt at Cook County jail
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Curious City How Chicago Women Created The World’s First Juvenile Justice System
Monday, May 13, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

Cook County report: Sharp drop in jail population, but crime did not jump
Friday, May 10, 2019
Injustice Watch

Will Cook County be home to the next big measles outbreak? Researchers think so.
Friday, May 10, 2019
Chicago Tribune

May is Prime Time for Birding in the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Thursday, May 09, 2019
Special to

More Babies Are Illegally Abandoned Than Turned Over Through Illinois’ Safe Haven Law In Cook County
Thursday, May 09, 2019
CBS Chicago

Empty businesses may lose county tax incentives
Wednesday, May 08, 2019
Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle

As new DCFS report highlights failures, Cook County guardian says 'inept' child welfare agency is ‘not doing its job ... at every level’
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County passes bill to stop discrimination against tenant applicants
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Chicago Crusader

all news items

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