Cook County commissioners fail to override Stroger veto
Thursday, May 21, 2009
by Wendell Huston
The Cook County Board failed Tuesday to override board
President Todd Stroger’s sales tax repeal veto. The board needed
14 votes for the override but came up three short with commissioners
voting 11-4 not to go over Stroger and
rescind the one penny sales tax increase that
went into effect last summer.
At Tuesday’s county board meeting, three
of the five Black commissioners on the board
voted not to repeal the sales tax increase: William
Beavers, D-4th Dist., Jerry Butler, D-3rd
Dist., and Deborah Sims, D-5th Dist.
Commissioners Earlean Collins, D-1st
Dist., and Robert Steele, D-2nd Dist., voted
present, which indicated that they were neutral.
“We need to maintain our health care. If we
cut health care, we are doing a disservice to
our residents,” Steele said at the meeting. “I
support a progressive rollback. What I do not
want is to be hung on a tree because the sales
tax was rolled back all at once.”
Stroger said if the entire 1 percent sales tax
increase were rolled back at once, it would
mean having to close Provident Hospital on
the South Side, south suburban Oak Forest
Hospital and all 16 county health clinics.
Sims was absent last week when the majority
of the board voted to repeal the sales tax
increase that pushed the county’s share of the sales tax to 1.75 percent.
By doing so, it increased the overall sales tax in Chicago to
10.25 percent, the highest in the nation.
“We should roll back the increase in increments but not all at
once,” she said. “This is unfortunate that we’re in this position.”
Collins said when the board voted last week to repeal the tax
increase, they were wrong for doing so.
“This body acted totally irresponsible. And you (Stroger) should
have left it alone and not vetoed the measure,” Collins said
Tuesday. “You should have let us work it out.”
Stroger said residents should not just look at the county portion
on the sales tax but the whole tax picture.