Suffredin- Changing County Government  

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:  

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


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

  Cook County has the largest unified trial court system in the world, disposing over 6 million cases in 1990 alone.

Provena Case may open door for state, local effort to tax hospitals.

Thursday, March 18, 2010
Crain's Chicago Business
by Greg Hinz's Blog

Thursday's decision by the Illinois Supreme Court in the Provena case may open the door to widespread local and state efforts to force hospitals to either provide adequate free care to the poor or pay property taxes if they don't.

For starters, the decision could revive a stalled legislative campaign by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to force property-tax-exempt hospitals to spend a specific amount -- at least 8% of their operating budget -- on charity care.

Though Ms. Madigan did not immediately announce any General Assembly plans, a statement put out by her office could be read as an invitation to the hospital industry to come to the bargaining table.

Negotiating with Ms. Madigan could be a lot easier for the industry than having to deal with more than 100 county assessors throughout Illinois.

The court's decision "upheld over a century of Illinois law that requires tax-exempt hospitals to provide free heath care in exchange for the enormous tax breaks they choose to receive," Ms. Madigan said in a statement. "This decision is good news for the nearly 2 million uninsured Illinoisans."

Ms. Madigan's spokeswoman later added only that, "We certainly will need to take a look at where we are, going forward, after talking with all the stakleholders."

More direct was Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin, who said the decision "absolutely is going to provoke a discussion" about how the county can be reimbursed for free care that it provides but which tax-exempt hospitals should be offering.

"This is a seminal decision. We are going to have to respond," Mr. Suffredin said. "The decision opens up an opportunity here to ensure that charity care is available."

Those discussions could result in "looking at the tax status" of delinquent institutions, Mr. Suffredin said. Or it could evolve into a set system in which certain institutions provide certain types and amounts of care.

County Assessor Jim Houlihan declined to tip his hand yet, saying only in a statement that his office is "still reading and analyzing" the decision.

But Mr. Houlihan in recent years yanked the tax exemption from a high-end retirement complex, the Clare, on the Near North Side that is sponsored by a Roman Catholic group.

Perhaps more on point, in 2007 he released a study saying that the county's 50 or so tax-exempt hospitals would have to pay $238 million to $241 million a year in property taxes if they lost their exemption.

All of the above not withstanding, the Illinois Hospital Association is one of the biggest, best funded and most effective lobbying forces in Springfield. It was one of the top campaign contributors to former Gov. Rod Blagojevich and has repeated that stance with his successor, Pat Quinn.

But even IHA's clout will be limited, given what at this point appears to be a clear and decisive high court ruling.

Recent Headlines

U.S. appeals judges: Go fight over lawsuits with Dorothy Brown in state court
Sunday, November 13, 2918
Chicago Sun-Times

She's been waiting 15 months for her rape kit to be processed. A new proposal to track evidence aims to change that.
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Preckwinkle to unveil policy roadmap for Cook County for next five years
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

COMMENTARY: Here's how the Shakman case curbed Cook County patronage
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Appeals court backs Dorothy Brown in lawsuit over public access to electronic records, says judge overstepped authority
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

What’s Next As Voters Overwhelmingly Support Higher Minimum Wage, Paid Sick Time
Monday, November 12, 2018
Journal and Topics Online

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle's security chief fired after review spurred by watchdog report
Thursday, November 08, 2018
Chicago Tribune

An earlier opening day: 2019 Cook County forest preserves permits go on sale Nov. 15
Thursday, November 08, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County opening 2019 picnic permit sales Nov. 15
Monday, November 05, 2018
Special to

The Cook County Land Bank looks to go commercial
Monday, November 05, 2018
RE Journal

Nov. 15 is new opening date for Cook County forest preserves permits
Monday, November 05, 2018
Daily Herald

Cook County Gun Dealer, Minimum Wage Referendums On Ballot
Monday, November 05, 2018

The Abandoned WWI Monument One Chicago Man Is Determined To Save
Friday, November 02, 2018
Chicago Patch

Cook County freed from federal oversight
Thursday, November 01, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

First-of-its-kind trauma recovery center serves survivors of domestic violence, hate crimes, sexual assault, gun violence in Cook County
Monday, October 29, 2018

Northbrook opts in to Cook County paid sick leave ordinance, more uncertainty for employers, lawyer says
Monday, October 29, 2018
Cook County Record

First-of-its-kind Advocate Trauma Recovery Center serves survivors of domestic violence, hate crimes, sexual assault, gun violence in Cook County
Monday, October 29, 2018
WLS Channel 7

Cook County sheriff, CVS team up on safe prescription painkiller disposal
Saturday, October 27, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

HOPE Court, created to keep probationers out of prison, shut down amid problems
Friday, October 26, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Can Kaegi really reform the assessor's office?
Friday, October 26, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

all news items

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