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:  

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.

  Cook County Hospital fills more outpatient prescriptions every day than are filled at 26 Walgreen's drug store combined.

How to avoid Stroger's taxes

Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Chicago Tribune

Digg Facebook Fark Google Newsvine Reddit Yahoo Print Single page view Reprints Post Comment Text size: You have to marvel at the hubris of Todd Stroger's handlers: They want to raise tax rates so high now that the rookie Cook County Board president won't have to ask for more new revenue until well after he runs for re-election in 2010. Trouble is, there's no need for one penny of Stroger's proposed hikes -- including a 2-percentage-point sales tax increase that would hit the poor the hardest. A year ago, Stroger took a "solemn oath" to streamline county government. Yet he squandered countless reform opportunities in 2007, so you're supposed to pay for his neglect in 2008 and beyond. He wants close to $900 million a year in new tax revenue. *** Stroger has seven reliable votes for his taxing spree. He desperately needs swing board members Earlean Collins (312-603-4566 and 773-626-2184) and Roberto Maldonado (312-603-6386 and 773-395-0143) to align this week with him. Stroger's budgeteers say Cook County faces a shortfall of $238 million in 2008. The county has a history of inflating "shortfalls" to justify tax hikes. But let's take them at their word. Let's say they need $238 million to balance the budget. So how can we save that money, instead of forcing county residents to pay up? This page has asked board opponents of Stroger's taxes to offer alternatives, and some of them have responded. The most detailed plan comes from Commissioner Michael Quigley and his chief of staff Kimberly Walz, who for seven years have produced solid reports on how to reinvent county government. Quigley says some of his trims for 2008 can't remain cut in future years. But the goal here is to get through 2008 without tax hikes -- and then use the year to do the streamlining Stroger promised but notoriously failed to deliver. The beauty of this is that it would lead to a slimmer, more responsive bureaucracy by 2009 -- eliminating any need for new taxes then. Quigley's proposals for '08: - Cut 35 percent of Stroger's requested capital equipment spending (new office furnishings and equipment, vehicles, telecom purchases, computers, etc.): $26.9 million. - Cut 30 percent of overtime: $11.6 million. - Cut 30 percent of expenses for consultants: $18.6 million. - Sell surplus land held by Oak Forest Hospital and the Highway Department: an estimated $40 million. - Increase from 2 percent to 5 percent the "holdback" that county departments are budgeted but don't receive -- a form of enforced saving. This would be offset by more cross-training of workers who could shift from office to office during peak periods of tax collection, tax appeals, real estate transfers, elections and so on: $65 million. So far, that's $162 million saved. Board member Larry Suffredin would more than erase the remainder by: - Giving Stroger only half of the 1,130 new hires he wants -- basically, those needed to comply with court orders. Savings: $30 million. - Restructuring the county's debt. Suffredin's research with outside financial specialists suggests annual savings of perhaps $60 million. So: Between them, Quigley and Suffredin offer about $250 million in savings to more than cover Stroger's avowed $238 million shortfall. If one of their ideas isn't workable, so be it. The point is, there's lots of low-hanging fruit. *** All through 2007, Stroger's allies didn't hold him to his "solemn oath." Many of them figured budgeting for 2008 would be like the good old days: They'd harrumph and whine about how impossible it is to cut Stroger's $3 billion-plus budget -- and in the end they'd get their way. Maybe they will. But county government has been inexorably approaching this bitter showdown for several years. A steadily more emboldened County Board has forced some budget cuts, and deflected some tax increases. Now, commissioners Earlean Collins and Roberto Maldonado will decide whether taxpayers get an efficient government that provides better service. The way to achieve that is to stop the tax hikes now -- and use 2008 to reinvent Cook County.

Recent Headlines

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

Preckwinkle to unveil policy roadmap for Cook County for next five years
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

U.S. appeals judges: Go fight over lawsuits with Dorothy Brown in state court
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

COMMENTARY: Here's how the Shakman case curbed Cook County patronage
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Appeals court backs Dorothy Brown in lawsuit over public access to electronic records, says judge overstepped authority
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

What’s Next As Voters Overwhelmingly Support Higher Minimum Wage, Paid Sick Time
Monday, November 12, 2018
Journal and Topics Online

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle's security chief fired after review spurred by watchdog report
Thursday, November 08, 2018
Chicago Tribune

An earlier opening day: 2019 Cook County forest preserves permits go on sale Nov. 15
Thursday, November 08, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County opening 2019 picnic permit sales Nov. 15
Monday, November 05, 2018
Special to

The Cook County Land Bank looks to go commercial
Monday, November 05, 2018
RE Journal

Nov. 15 is new opening date for Cook County forest preserves permits
Monday, November 05, 2018
Daily Herald

Cook County Gun Dealer, Minimum Wage Referendums On Ballot
Monday, November 05, 2018

The Abandoned WWI Monument One Chicago Man Is Determined To Save
Friday, November 02, 2018
Chicago Patch

Cook County freed from federal oversight
Thursday, November 01, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

First-of-its-kind trauma recovery center serves survivors of domestic violence, hate crimes, sexual assault, gun violence in Cook County
Monday, October 29, 2018

Northbrook opts in to Cook County paid sick leave ordinance, more uncertainty for employers, lawyer says
Monday, October 29, 2018
Cook County Record

First-of-its-kind Advocate Trauma Recovery Center serves survivors of domestic violence, hate crimes, sexual assault, gun violence in Cook County
Monday, October 29, 2018
WLS Channel 7

Cook County sheriff, CVS team up on safe prescription painkiller disposal
Saturday, October 27, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

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