Suffredin- Changing County Government  
 

Accountability
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:  
   
 
 

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

   
 

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

   
  Cook County is the second most populous county in the nation. It is the 19th largest government in the U.S.
   
     
     
     



County Wants to Tax Vice, Bad Habit and Weaponry
Video gambling, cigarettes, guns and ammo would be taxed under Cook County's new budget plan. Golf and picnic permits at the Forest Preserve would cost more, too.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

by Dennis Robaugh

Targeting smokers, gun owners and gamblers, a slew of new and unusual taxes and fees designed to raise $43 million are proposed for Cook County's $2.95 billion 2013 budget.

Board President Tony Preckwinkle released her spending plan Thursday, saying $50 million in spending cuts are planned, too, and 462 open county jobs would be eliminated.

But public attention will focus on the taxes:

  • $1-a-pack more on cigarettes; the county tax is already $2 a pack
  • $800 on every video gambling machine
  • $25 on every gun sold
  • 5 cents on every bullet sold
  • $5 fee for every "confirmation of death" letter issued by the county morgue

The proposed budget avoids a property tax hike. Nine of 17 commissioners need to vote for Preckwinkle's budget for it to pass.

The county projects $25 million would be raised via the cigarette tax. Today, the total federal, state and local tax levied on a pack of cigarettes is $4.67 in Chicago and $3.99 in the Cook County suburbs. 

The tax on guns and ammo — dubbed a "violence tax" by some — would raise $1 million through the county's 40 registered firearms dealers.

"The violence in Cook County is devastating and the wide availability of ammunition only exacerbates the problem," Preckwinkle said Thursday in announcing her budget to county commissioners. "Twenty-nine percent of the illegal guns used in crimes and recovered by the Chicago Police Department were purchased legally in Cook County. This violence has a real impact on the Cook County Health and Hospital System."

The first-term Democrat pointed out that trauma care for gunshot victims costs $52,000, on average, and most people who visit Cook County's emergency rooms with bullet wounds don't have insurance.

In 2011, 670 shooting victims were treated in county hospitals, Preckwinkle said.

"Why should we be paying for gang bangers shooting each other?" asked the owner of Freddie Bear Sport, a guns and ammo dealer in Tinley Park. "You're taxing law-abiding citizens for what criminals are doing."

Lutger told the Associated Press his customers will simply go elsewhere if they have to pay taxes on their guns and bullets.

"Who's going to come to Tinley Park to buy ammunition?" Lutger said.

Forty-five Cook County businesses have video gaming licenses, according to the Illinois Gaming Board, and Preckwinkle wants $800 per year for each machine, projecting $1.3 million in annual revenue.

"These machines generate almost $800 a day – we’re asking for $800 per year. They keep their other 364 days of revenue. We use that one day’s revenue to help mitigate the impact of the associated costs of crime, health, addiction," Preckwinkle said.

A new state law that went into effect this month allows communities to approve video gaming in their towns, but state lawmakers never envisioned Cook County would try to impose this tax, according to a report from IllinoisWatchdog.org.

State Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, a longtime advocate of expanded gambling in Illinois, said Cook County's video gaming tax would be a "job killer" for local bars and restaurants that want to add the devices to their business plans.

If taxes are certain, so is death. And Preckwinkle found a way to get a few bucks via the dead souls who pass through the county morgue. 

Among the budget's various smaller proposed fees, there's a $5 charge for every "confirmation of death" letter, according to Clout Street on ChicagoTribune.com. Such fees would raise about half a million dollars.

And over at the Cook County Forest Preserve, a separate county taxing body, there are proposals to hike fees for the first time in seven years on picnic permits and rounds of golf.

The cost of the most popular county picnic permit for groups of 100 people or less rises from $35 to $37. The price of a permit for an event with more than 1,000 people will increase from $760 to $960. 

A round of golf at nine county golf courses will cost $1 more. But at George W. Dunne National in Oak Forest, a premier 18-hole course, the fee would be $49, $2 more than it is today.

This post is published on the Patch network throughout Cook County.



Recent Headlines

Challenge to filing fee has some worth
Monday, April 16, 2018
Chicago Daily law Bulletin

Tougher SNAP rules worry providers
Friday, April 13, 2018
Modern Healthcare

Cook County tax officials take excess campaign donations from appeals firms, ethics panel says
Friday, April 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County’s 'Next Century' Plan To Maintain Forest Preserves
Wednesday, April 11, 2018
WBEZ

What happens when a hospital sells its debt?
Tuesday, April 10, 2018
WWNO New Orleans Public Radio

Federal funds to bolster election security may fall short in Chicago, Cook
Monday, April 09, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

New autopsy rulings bring Cook County cold death total to 31 this season
Thursday, March 29, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Forest Preserves of Cook County Summer Day Camp Registration Opens April 2
Thursday, March 29, 2018
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County sues Facebook, Cambridge Analytica after alleged misuse of millions of Illinoisans' data
Monday, March 26, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Unsung Heroine Award to Emily Guthrie
Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Evanston Roundtable

Editorial: In four letters, why people leave Cook County: J-O-B-S
Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Chicago Tribune

In a twist, Cook County wins $9 million verdict tied to jail strip-search settlement
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Chicago Tribune

15 got promotions from Court Clerk Dorothy Brown within 6 months of donations
Friday, March 16, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Assessor Berrios loses court fight to overturn Cook County's limits on campaign donations
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Chicago Tribune

$70 million and counting? Cook County taxpayers face massive tab for sheriff board firings
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Commentary: Dart's misguided approach to jail reform
Monday, March 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Editorial: Commissioners: Shelve this Cook County job killer
Monday, March 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County alerting investors, delinquent property taxpayers of coming tax sale
Friday, March 09, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Agnes Lattimer, who became Cook County Hospital medical director and campaigned against lead poisoning, dies
Thursday, March 01, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Emily Williams Guthrie Honored as 2018 Unsung Heroine
Thursday, March 01, 2018
Special to suffredin.org

all news items

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