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.
   
     
     
     



Increase in cigarette tax will save lives, county health system, Preckwinkle says

Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Chicago Sun-Times
by LIsa Donovan

Still locking in the votes needed for the $1-a-pack cigarette tax hike she’s pushing, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle stood in the trauma unit of the county’s flagship public hospital Tuesday and talked about how the tax could stem the toll smoking takes on residents as well as the county’s public health and hospital system.

The hike would push the combined tax on a pack of cigarettes to $6.67 in Chicago — the second-highest in the nation behind New York City at $6.86 — but would save some 10,300 Cook County residents from premature, smoking related deaths and trigger a 7.2 percent drop in young smokers, Preckwinkle said, citing statistics from the national Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

“Cigarettes are harmful, addictive and for years have put young people on a path to poor health and taken a toll on our communities,” Preckwinkle told reporters inside a “shock trauma room” at John H. Stroger Hospital of Cook County, on the city’s West Side. The private room is where those critically wounded in shootings, stabbings even car wrecks are treated and even undergo surgery. The room was quickly sanitized after Tuesday’s news conference so a patient could be treated there.

The tax hike would bring in $25 million next year, and Preckwinkle says those dollars will help defray the costs of running a trauma unit like the one at Stroger — or any of the rest of the county’s roughly $1 billion public health operation which counts a second hospital and more than a dozen clinics serving the poor and uninsured.

Every day, doctors in the county health and hospital system diagnose a patient with lung cancer, 90 percent of them smokers. And it costs about $60,000 to treat a lung cancer patient, according to county statistics.

While she surrounded herself with plenty of anti-smoking advocates at Tuesday’s press event, Preckwinkle has been lining up county commissioners to pass the measure.

She wasn’t saying whether she had the nine “yes” votes — the minimum number needed to pass the measure.

Right now, eight out of the 17 commissioners are sponsors on the county legislation to increase the tax — but it’s too soon to say she’s failed or close to winning.

“I hope the eight sponsors hold — some of them have a reputation for sponsoring and abandoning issues,” said Commissioner Larry Suffredin, among the eight sponsors.

He said he’ll stand in support of the cigarette tax increase — because, he says, he pushed for such a hike last year but it failed. In fact, he’s miffed because he believes Preckwinkle has trotted out the idea this year as if she came up with it.

“She presents an idea that I presented first and she takes full credit for it,” Suffredin said, adding: “I commend the president for doing something that should have been done last year.”

Commissioner Edwin Reyes, another sponsor and a presumed “yes” vote on the hike, told the Sun-Times that while he agrees smoking is a public health issue he’s not sold on the idea that it will bring in a lot of money.

“I’m still undecided,” saying he’s concerned it won’t be a reliable funding stream since cigarette revenues are several million dollars below what was projected this year for the county.

Commissioner Robert Steele, another sponsor, said he’s hearing some complaints from constituents about the cigarette tax. He says he’s talking with several other commissioners to see whether alternate revenue sources — or other savings — can be found in lieu of the cigarette tax increase. He declined to talk specifics and stressed that it shouldn’t signal he’s not for the tax hike.

“I gave the president my initial support for it, but it’s also my job to listen to all sides,” said Steele, whose district fans out over parts of downtown and the city’s West and South sides. “It’s not a good time to continue to increase taxes on the public.”

The other five who signed on as sponsors include powerful head of the finance committee John Daley, her floor leader Commissioner Jesus Garcia and fellow Democrats Jerry Butler, Jeffrey Tobolski and Deborah Sims.

Democratic Commissioners Earlean Collins and William Beavers, a former Chicago alderman who used to smoke in the ante-room behind City Council chambers even though a smoking ban was in place, both gave the tax plan a thumbs down.

“I’m not for any taxes. OK? Bye,” Beavers said in a brief interview.

Republican commissioners Gregg Goslin, Peter Silvestri and Liz Gorman also are “no” votes.

“Once again it’s pushing consumers to do business across county lines,” said Gorman, a suburban Republican who listened to business owners complain about losing business to neighboring counties when Cook County hiked the sales tax in 2008.

Commissioners John Fritchey, a North Side Democrat, and Timothy Schneider, a Northwest suburban Republican, weren’t ready to make a final decision Tuesday on how they’ll vote while commissioners Bridget Gainer and Joan Murphy, both Democrats, couldn’t be reached for comment.

The cigarette tax hike is part of the roughly $3 billion spending proposal Preckwinkle unveiled last week. A final vote on the 2013 budget isn’t expected until next month.



Recent Headlines

Study says property tax system favors rich
Friday, February 16, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Property Tax System ‘More Regressive’ in Cook County, Report Finds
Friday, February 16, 2018
WTTW Chicago Tonight

VIDEO: Cook County Jail detainees applaud CPD commander’s alleged killer
Friday, February 16, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Blockbuster report: How Cook County tax system shafts the little guy
Thursday, February 15, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

Order over lawsuits in Dorothy Brown’s office put on hold by appeals court
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Dorothy Brown can't 'end-run' First Amendment, judge says in denying delay
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County prosecutors toss more convictions tainted by corrupt ex-Chicago police Sgt. Ronald Watts
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Handwritten documents, Manila folders, carbon paper — welcome to Cook County criminal court
Monday, February 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

2 Cook County Commissioners missed over a third of Forest Preserve meetings
Sunday, February 11, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Jail guards lock down sweet union contract—despite sour budget mess
Sunday, February 11, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Running for judge, Dorothy Brown’s inspector general accepts donation from bos
Friday, February 09, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook Co. President Urges Trump To Stop ICE Arrests In Courthouses
Wednesday, February 07, 2018
Beverly Patch

Voting in Jail? New Bill Seeks to Expand Ballot Access for Detainees
Wednesday, February 07, 2018
WTTW Chicago Tonight

COOK COUNTY BOARD COMMISSIONER PROPOSES HEARING ON POLICE OVERSIGHT
Wednesday, February 07, 2018
WBEZ BGA

Assessor Berrios Extends Deadline for Senior and Senior Freeze Exemption Applications
Wednesday, February 07, 2018
Special to suffredin.org

EDITORIAL: You can’t vote if you don’t have a ballot
Wednesday, February 07, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Early voting postponed as candidate nomination contested
Wednesday, February 07, 2018
Jacksonville Journal Courier

Jail Population Plunge Has Been Good For Taxpayers, Dart Says
Tuesday, February 06, 2018
WBBM CBSChicago

Foxx: Berrios shouldn't use special state's attorney to fight ethics law
Tuesday, February 06, 2018
Chicago Tribune

EDITORIAL: Every suspicious Cook County death deserves a proper investigation
Tuesday, February 06, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

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