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Cook County budget starts with $267 million hole

Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Chicago Tribune
by Hal Dardick

Cook County is starting $267.5 million in the hole as officials start planning next year's budget, Board President Toni Preckwinkle said today.

The projected shortfall is partly due to the rollback of the final quarter-percentage-point of the sales tax increase approved under predecessor Todd Stroger and a continued drop in revenue collections at the county healthcare system.

The sales-tax cut will cost the county about $87.8 million next year, and the healthcare money situation will cost an estimated $150 million.

This year's $3 billion budget also is $22.4 million short, so Preckwinkle said she is putting in place a limited hiring freeze.

The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on President Barack Obama's national healthcare program, which is expected Thursday, also could greatly impact the finances of the county healthcare system, officials said.



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