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Stroger's inner Blagojevich

Thursday, January 10, 2008
Chicago Tribune
Editorial

Months ago, Gov. Rod Blagojevich passed the tipping point at which pitiful failure becomes stubborn ineptitude. Unable to enlist Illinois legislators in an orgy of taxing and spending -- remember that devastating House vote of 107-0? -- he essentially crawled into a bunker and began issuing edicts on how the state should spend taxpayers' money.

Now Todd Stroger, the rookie president of the Cook County Board, is acting out his own loopy pageant of denial. Having flopped, and flopped, in repeated efforts to push a massive and unnecessary sales-tax increase, Stroger is ... still pushing a massive and unnecessary sales-tax increase. "The guy is waiting for Santa Claus," County Board member Michael Quigley marveled Wednesday. "He needs to understand that Santa has finished his rounds."

Stroger's inability to accept reality and offer an alternative budget for 2008 leaves him in the sad embrace of his inner Blagojevich. The problem for people who rely on county services, and for the county's workforce, is that Stroger's stalling raises the likelihood of severe spending cuts to balance whatever budget the county adopts, as it must, by the end of February.