The Cook County Board of
Commissioners finally succeeded in overriding President Todd Stroger's
veto and rolling back the sales tax by half a percentage point today.
Armed with a new, lowered three-fifths requirement to
override passed by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Quinn, the
board voted 12-5 to cut in half the penny-on-the-dollar increase in the
sales tax imposed last year.
The reduction takes effect July 1.
Stroger threatened the tax reduction would cripple the
county's Health & Hospitals System, but commissioners proved more
concerned about reduced tax revenue and business lost to collar
counties with lower sales taxes. They cut the county's share of the
sales tax from 1.75 to 1.25 percent and dropped it overall below 10
percent in the city of Chicago and other municipalities - highest in
the nation for major metropolitan areas - thus removing what Evanston
Democratic Commissioner Larry Suffredin labeled a psychological
obstacle for local consumers.
The fourth attempt to roll back the sales tax turned
out to be the one that stuck. Three previous attempts ended when
commissioners failed to overturn Stroger's veto, crippled by the
four-fifths majority then required to override.