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Preckwinkle cuts Cook budget by a half-billion dollars

Tuesday, February 01, 2011
Daily Herald
by Ted Cox

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle today submitted a proposed executive 2011 budget with a half-billion dollars in cuts from the previous year.

Faced with an estimated $487 million budget shortfall, Preckwinkle proposed a $3.06 billion budget in a special meeting of the County Board, down from $3.56 billion last year.

The budget calls for an estimated 1,075 layoffs, or about 4 percent of the county’s work force of more than, 23,000, and that’s before late cuts in the State’s Attorney’s Office, the Sheriff’s Police and the clerk of the court are factored in. Preckwinkle said the cuts could eventually total 8 percent of the county work force, or more than 2,000.

Yet she maintained it would not diminish vital county services.

“This proposed budget represents the first steps of a restructuring of county finances and a long-term plan that will address the structural budget deficit and lay the groundwork for the (full) rollback of the county sales-tax increase,” Preckwinkle said. “It is through a commitment to this collaborative process that we have been able to make historic changes to this budget, all in the interest of building a sustainable financial future for the county government.”

The budget address was well-received by the County Board, and the budget was highly praised by Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation, a Chicago-based, business-oriented government watchdog.



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