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Report: Several Cook Co. suburbs going broke

Monday, March 12, 2012

by Evelyn Holmes

A new report says there is a financial crisis in the suburbs, and some are headed toward bankruptcy if changes are not made.

Current trends are unsustainable and could lead to huge tax increases and financial ruin if reforms are not made in those municipalities. The Chicago-based non-profit resources organization based its information on documents obtained from Cook County.

School district's collect the largest portion of property taxes. Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas said the county's portion of the tax bill has not increased in 17 years. Government consolidation along with pension reform are essential as the tax burden skyrockets, she said.

"You are not paying to Cook County. You are paying between 12 and 14 different governments. Each of these can raise these amounts," said Pappas.

"With their backs against the wall, you will see more municipalities doing something aggressively to bring personnel costs under control," said Joseph Bast, Heartland Institute.

The authors of the studies say that things could get worse if there are no problems. Heartland Institute will do another study to look at the debt that municipalities cover.



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