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Mayor Daley: Repeal sales-tax increase
But Daley say that's not a knock on Stroger

Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Chicago Sun-Times
by Fran Spielman

Mayor Daley threw his support today behind an effort to the repeal a 1 percent Cook County sales-tax increase that was approved last year.

Daley said that doesn't mean he's withdrawing his support for Cook County Board president Todd Stroger, who pushed for the increase and said Tuesday he will veto the repeal.

"It has nothing to do with support for Todd," Daley said.

The mayor said the tax has hurt businesses.

On Tuesday, the Cook County Board voted to repeal the controversial sales-tax increase, setting up a showdown with Stroger, who wanted to roll back only a portion of the extra penny-on-the-dollar tax. Stroger said rolling back the tax increase entirely would cost the county an estimated $300 million and might force the closing of the county's Provident Hospital and possibly Oak Forest Hospital, as well as a dozen county-run medical clinics.

Despite Stroger's vow to veto the repeal, which passed 12-3 with two county board members absent, commissioners behind the rollback said they were working to get the 14 votes needed to override a veto. Among those who spoke in favor of the repeal and challenged Stroger was Commissioner John Daley, the mayor's brother.

At a public appearance this morning, the mayor was asked why he hadn't moved to block the sales-tax increase before it was passed last year.

"It's not my job to stop it," he said. "I have enough problems." Asked if the unpopular tax increase has left Stroger, who's seeking reelection next year, dead politically, Daley said, "No, I don't think so. I don't know why you would say that. He's very hard-working."

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