Suffredin- An Advocate for All of Us  

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.

Hold line on taxes, cut 'exempt' jobs, consolidate clinics

Thursday, February 22, 2007
Daily Southtown

The issue: County board and President Todd Stroger still are at odds over the $3 billion budget and $500 million deficit.

We say: The board must hold the line on taxes, cut a significant number of political appointees and close underused health clinics; patients should be sent to the remaining facilities.

As members of the Cook County Board prepare to vote, possibly as soon as today, on the 2007 budget, they need to focus on a few basic principles.

First, there is no room for a tax increase of any kind. On Monday, the board voted down proposals for new taxes on meals in restaurants, on hotel rooms and on alcoholic beverages. Good for the board.

But the same board voted 10 to 5 Wednesday to create a tax on excessive sulfur dioxide emissions that would go into effect in 2008. In our view, the county should not even think about new taxes or tax increases before making significant, demonstrable cuts in patronage and waste. County board President Todd Stroger said Wednesday he may veto the sulfur dioxide tax; we urge Stroger to do so.

We also urge Stroger and the board to reverse its decision to transfer $13 million in property tax receipts from the forest preserve budget to the county budget. That money came from tax increases by the forest preserve board, which is made up of the same commissioners as the county board. In other words, the commissioners have raised property taxes to fund the county budget. They should rescind that transfer and, since the forest preserve district doesn't need the money, they should rebate it to the taxpayers.

Second, the board and Stroger are at odds over the county's health clinics. Stroger wants to close 13 of the county's 26 clinics, which he says serve in total only 5 percent of the system's 740,000 clients. His adversaries on the board (and a number of politicians outside county government) want to keep all the clinics open to show their support for health care services. We believe Stroger's position on these clinics is the responsible one; only a relative handful of patients each day are using the clinics targeted for closing, and those patients can be served less expensively -- but no less effectively -- by directing them to the other clinic locations. We believe the county must preserve health services, but that doesn't mean the services have to be offered in precisely the same locations forever. Consolidating some of the clinics should cut costs without cutting services.

One more general point: Stroger needs to do more to cut the ranks of the so-called "at-will" Shakman-exempt employees -- otherwise known as political appointees or, to some, patronage workers. So far Stroger says he's eliminated about 20 such workers from his administrative staff and another 14 to 16 from the health bureau. He needs to do far better than that. In January, Stroger said he had letters of resignation from all of the approximately 500 Shakman-exempt workers, and would begin culling those who don't pull their weight. He needs to reduce that number significantly. If Stroger won't do it, every member of the county board should start poring over the employee list to identify the "at-will" employees whom the taxpayers can live without.

Recent Headlines

Woman, 19, arrested after escaping police custody at Cook County courthouse
Sunday, December 09, 2018
WLS ABC Chicago 7

Here's an exciting prospect: A boring assessor's office
Saturday, December 08, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

Sheriff starts unique inmate program to combat Chicago's gun epidemic
Thursday, December 06, 2018
RTV 6 Indianapolis

Staff feud at tax appeals board turns nasty
Wednesday, December 05, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County Tax Bills Posted Online Three Months Early
Wednesday, December 05, 2018
CBS Chicago

County Board makes it easier to choose Preckwinkle successor
Tuesday, December 04, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

New Cook County assessor vows end to favoritism as he takes office
Monday, December 03, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

New Cook County Board members sworn in Monday
Monday, December 03, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County referendums: 'Yes' to everything
Wednesday, November 28, 2018
Chicago City Wire

Glenview to discuss Cook County minimum wage, paid sick leave ordinances in December
Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Wilmette reverses course, fully adopts both county minimum wage and sick time rules
Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Chicago Tribune

What Pritzker's minimum wage increase plan could mean for the suburbs
Monday, November 26, 2018
Daily Herald

Cook County sheriff’s vehicle struck during ISP pursuit on I-294
Sunday, November 25, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County 'Tails' program offers redemption for inmates, dogs
Thursday, November 22, 2018
Daily Herald

Cook County correctional officer owns bar where security guard Jemel Roberson shot by cop, officials say
Wednesday, November 21, 2018
Chicago Tribune

More than 2 months after sisters were killed in crash with Cook County sheriff's officer, family still waits for answers
Wednesday, November 21, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Jail guard’s retaliation suit can proceed
Monday, November 19, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Northbrook will revisit Cook County minimum wage ordinance in May
Sunday, November 18, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Suffredin: County to seek 'safeguards' for golf course road
Friday, November 16, 2018
Evanston NOW

She's been waiting 15 months for her rape kit to be processed. A new proposal to track evidence aims to change that.
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Chicago Tribune

all news items

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