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Stroger, County Board 'in a total war'
'SLAP IN THE FACE' | Commissioners furious over hiring of Beavers' girlfriend, threaten to kill sales tax hike

Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Chicago Sun-Times
by STEVE PATTERSON

Cook County Board President Todd Stroger's attempts to persuade county board members to back a tax hike appear to be backfiring.
Last week, Commissioner Roberto Maldonado -- who said he was on Stroger's side -- retreated in anger due to what he said were threats by Stroger staffers and allies against illegal immigrants.
This week, it's a backlash by frustrated commissioners who said they were working with Stroger to find an acceptable tax plan when they learned from the Sun-Times that Stroger had hired the girlfriend of his ally, Commissioner William Beavers -- and then reversed himself when the paper began questioning it.
"At this point, we're in a total war," said Commissioner Larry Suffredin, calling the hiring of Patty Young "a real slap in the face" that makes some commissioners "unsure [Stroger] deserves any more revenues."
Stroger's plan to raise the sales tax was on life support a week ago and, on Tuesday, Suffredin delivered what could be the death knell.
Suffredin had been a "present" vote on raising the sales tax 2 percentage points because of potential conflicts with legal contracts. But those potential conflicts have been clarified, he said, and he now plans to vote "no" to any sales tax plan. He could be a key swing against even a smaller sales tax proposal.
Still, it appears inevitable that some sort of tax will have to be created or increased in order to pay for the $3 billion Cook County government, though Stroger has yet to present a budget.
Stroger spokeswoman Ibis Antongiorgi said revenue-generating ideas are being floated and are likely to come in Stroger's 2008 budget recommendation, expected to be unveiled later this month.
Among the possibilities already on the table are an extra $4 a month on phone bills, as well as varying hikes to gas and electricity bills.


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