Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  
 

Accountability
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:  
   
 
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
  Last year more people used the County's forest preserves than visited Yellowstone National Park.
   
     
     
     



County budget proposal would cut jobs, keep taxes steady
Hundreds of county jobs would be cut if plan approved

Friday, October 23, 2009
Chicago Tribune
by Hal Dardick and John Byrne

Less than four months before the primary election, Cook County Board President Todd Stroger on Thursday offered up a budget proposal that holds the line on taxes, if not spending.

But with commissioners also set to face voters Feb. 2, Stroger's financial plan quickly became the latest fodder for the long-running political feud that envelops county government. Several of the 17 commissioners took aim at the budget, saying it includes unnecessary spending.

Stroger's proposal for next year would increase spending by about $131 million to more than $3 billion, and he said it includes no new taxes, fees or long-term borrowing. More than 600 county jobs would be cut, Stroger said.

"At a time when governments throughout our region no longer honor commitments to vendors, forsake promises made to employees at the collective bargaining table and eliminate services that are needed by everyday people, Cook County can and will meet its obligations," Stroger told commissioners, who need to approve the plan.

Stroger is able to avoid a tax increase after he pushed through a controversial penny-on-the-dollar sales-tax hike last year.

Commissioner Larry Suffredin, D-Evanston, who was a key vote in helping Stroger pass the tax hike and has been trying to repeal it for months, criticized the budget plan.

"(Stroger) knows that there is a lot of fluff in here, and my position is we could easily cut $160 million from this, and if we don't do it by reducing the sales tax, we should do it by reducing the property tax levy," said Suffredin, who voted for the sales tax in exchange for Stroger agreeing to form an independent board to oversee the county's public health system.

Under that new board, the health system obtained tens of millions of dollars more in federal funding, which allowed it to ask the county for $73 million less next year. That, in turn, gave Stroger leeway to spend more elsewhere.

Suffredin said more than half the job reductions included in the budget are a result of cutbacks in health system staffing proposed by the independent board.

Despite those cuts, Stroger said he planned to "revisit" the independent board's budget proposal. "Are any of us truly independent?" he asked. "Shouldn't we all answer to somebody?"

Some changes the independent board members "appear to want to take will reduce the services that we offer," he added. "The long lines may shrink, but that's only because people will have given up on going to the county system. And that's my fear."

Health and Hospitals System officials, who declined to comment Thursday, have said they are aiming to be more efficient while maintaining services. For decades, the county health system had been widely criticized as an inefficient, bloated patronage fiefdom.

Commissioner Timothy Schneider, R-Streamwood, said the independent board's plans "are in jeopardy right now" because of resistance from employee unions and Stroger. "We need to let the professionals on the hospital board do their jobs," he said.

Stroger also included a number of new programs in his budget, including giving $200,000 each to the Boys and Girls Club of Chicago and the CeaseFire anti-violence program. He also wants to spend $250,000 to create a Cook County film commission.

He also touted an attempt to settle a dispute between Sheriff Tom Dart and Chief Judge Timothy Evans that prevents hundreds of people awaiting trial after being accused of nonviolent crimes from being placed on electronic home monitoring. That could save more than $20 million a year, a Tribune analysis concluded last year.

How Stroger's plans fare will depend not only on the County Board, but also the General Assembly, which is mulling legislation to lower the number of commissioners needed to override his veto. If that succeeds, the board could again try to roll back the sales tax increase.

"With the election at that point 60 or 80 days away, I can tell you a lot of people are going to find religion on this board, and do the right thing for their own self interest, and support the rollback," said Commissioner Tony Peraica, R-Riverside.


Recent Headlines

Preteens out of detention before trial under new ordinance
Friday, September 14, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Cook County Board bars detention of youth under 13 years old
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Injustice Watch

Preteens accused of crimes won't be locked up at Cook County juvenile center
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Slowik: Cook County offers residents last chance to comment on strategic plan
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Daily Southtown

Settlement over Cook County's 2007 decision to cut inmates' dental care will cost nearly $5.3 million
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Anti-patronage Shakman pact requiring federal oversight of Cook County hiring, firing to end
Friday, August 31, 2018
Chicago Tribune

1st District upholds merit board in firing of deputy
Thursday, August 30, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Neighborhood program helps Cook County residents buy homes
Sunday, August 26, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Judge upholds Cook County firearm, ammunition taxes
Thursday, August 23, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Editorial: E-filing should make Cook County courts more accessible. It doesn't
Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County tax incentive could pave way for Wingstop, Dunkin' Donuts on Elgin's Summit Street
Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Editorial: What happened to the elk?
Friday, August 10, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Wells Fargo to offer $15,000 grants to potential Cook County homebuyers
Thursday, August 09, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Suit alleges Cook County detainees secretly monitored in bathrooms in holding cells at courthouses
Wednesday, August 08, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Half the elk at Busse Woods died last year, and officials arenít sure why
Tuesday, August 07, 2018
Chicago Tribune

A letter from Dr. Jay Shannon regarding gun violence and Stroger Hospital
Tuesday, August 07, 2018
Special to suffredin.org

As Evanston adapts to minimum wage hike, nearby towns say they have no plan to join in
Tuesday, August 07, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Lawsuit could blast a $250 million hole in county budget
Monday, August 06, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

Pappas: Automatic refunds of $19.5 million going to 53,000 homeowners because of property tax cuts
Monday, August 06, 2018
Special to suffredin.org

Thousands of Cook County homeowners to receive property tax refunds
Monday, August 06, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

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