Cook County sales tax hike stands -- for now
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
by Lisa Donovan
Cook County’s penny-on-the-dollar sales tax hike will stand, elected
leaders decided today, but a future repeal is still on the table.
Cook County Board President Todd Stroger vetoed a full repeal of the
the 1 percentage point hike by Jan. 1, and attempts to override that
veto failed during the board’s regular meeting today.
But the five Republicans on the board quickly pushed forward a measure
that would repeal the tax hike over two years. Though that measure
passed, Stroger said he would veto it, too.
A year ago the sales tax hike was OKd by the board, pushing Chicago’s
overall sales tax to 10.25 percent — the highest of any large city in
the country. But as the 2010 election approaches, the drumbeat for
repealing the tax has grown louder.
Stroger himself has proposed rolling back the tax increase by 25
percent, and that legislation was sent to the finance committee for
Those pushing for the full repeal have said the penny-on-the-dollar
sales tax increase hurts both consumers and businesses and that the
county’s bloated government needs to be slashed. But Stroger argued
that eliminating the entire hike would effectively shutter Provident
Hospital and health care clinics that serve the poor and uninsured.
The timing for a full rollback couldn’t be worse, Stroger said,
considering that the economic downturn has resulted in thousands of
layoffs and a spike in the number of uninsured seeking care at
Today commissioners convened for a regular meeting, and the first order of business was dealing with Stroger’s veto.
In the end, only 11 commissioners voted to override, while four voted against it and two voted “present.”