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:  
   
 
 

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

   
 

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

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



Making a list: what Cook County can give residents

Monday, December 22, 2003
Crain's Chicago Business
by Laurence Msall



By

Crain's Chicago Business

Anyone who has ever attempted to unwind a string of tangled holiday lights can appreciate the difficulty of sorting out the budgets of Cook County and its Forest Preserve District.

As county officials contemplate celebrating the new year with a tax increase, they would be wise to remember that it is the thought that counts, not the increase.

The Civic Federation and other business groups have come up with as many ways to improve county government as there are lights on the tree in Daley Plaza. Implementing these ideas would be the best gift for county residents, and it wouldn't require tax increases, layoffs or significant service cuts.
Natural revenue growth from existing taxes and fees is expected to top $60 million next year. Combine that with $61 million saved by eliminating vacancies and regularly unspent appropriations, and you've more than covered the county's reported $86-million deficit.

Cook County should follow the lead of Mayor Richard Daley in balancing the budget. The city has shrunk its workforce 6% over the last five years through privatization and management improvements.

The county must make government leaner. Balancing the deficit with tax hikes will be counterproductive, particularly as local businesses struggle to emerge from a weakened economy. At a time when the private sector is reducing all costs, including personnel, the public sector must apply the same discipline.

While management efficiencies and natural revenue growth can close the 2004 budget gap, the county must begin to adopt long-term solutions. There is no shortage of ideas from civic organizations and the county's own 2001 County Operations Review Team report, but most of these recommendations have yet to be acted upon. Some key ideas that have been proposed by the Civic Federation over the years include:

• Eliminate automatic step increases for Cook County employees, which could save as much as $26 million annually.

• Dissolve the Suburban Cook County Tuberculosis Sanitarium District and transfer its assets to the county, which could immediately yield at least $9.6 million.

• Jointly purchase health insurance with other major local governments, which could save the county as much as $22.5 million.

Once the county budget is balanced, the next item on residents' wish list is forest preserve reform.

The hurried forest preserve budget process this year is further evidence of the need to sever the legal bond between the Cook County Board of Commissioners and the Cook County Forest Preserve District Board of Commissioners. Currently, the same commissioners serve on both boards and review both budgets at the same time.

Cook County would be well- served to follow the lead of DuPage County, which formally separated the boards of its county government and forest preserves this year. One immediate positive result of that split was a rationalization of the DuPage Forest Preserve land acquisition policy; another is the ability of each board to focus on its mission without the distractions of the other government.

Laurence Msall is president of the Civic Federation, a non-partisan government and tax research group supported by Chicago's leading business and service firms.



Recent Headlines

Working together to ensure that land, water, and life will always thrive in the forest preserves in Cook County.
Wednesday, July 06, 2022
Special to suffredin.org

For the Love Of Water (FLOW) is a summary of news from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago.
Tuesday, July 05, 2022
Special to suffredin.org

First mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus reported in Cook County
Sunday, July 03, 2022
Chicago Tribune

Forest Preserves of Cook County presents family fun at Kids’ Fest in Thornton
Thursday, June 30, 2022
Chicago Tribune

‘Check your check’: Minimum wage increases Friday in Chicago and Cook County
Thursday, June 30, 2022
Chicago Sun-Times

First Graduates of Cook County Restorative Justice Program Recognized
Thursday, June 30, 2022
WTTW News

Illinois getting nearly 4,500 doses of monkeypox vaccine from national stockpile
Thursday, June 30, 2022
Chicago Tribune

Cook County restorative justice program offers 2nd chance for young, non-violent offenders
Wednesday, June 29, 2022
ABC Local

Protect endangered species from overuse of deadly ‘neonic’ pesticides
Sunday, June 26, 2022
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Public Health Officials Announce First Presumptive Case of Monkeypox
Saturday, June 25, 2022
Special to suffredin.org

Illinois child welfare officials defend leaving kids in jail after release
Friday, June 24, 2022
WBEZ News

Cook County rescued popular restaurant from tax sale, then hosted an event there
Friday, June 24, 2022

Cook County Officials Unveil Rosy 2023 Budget Outlook
Friday, June 24, 2022
WTTW News

Trailblazers Program Empowers Volunteers
Thursday, June 23, 2022
Special to suffredin.org

Preckwinkle forecasts county’s smallest budget gap in a decade, no new taxes or fees planned
Wednesday, June 22, 2022
Chicago Tribune

Cook County's nonexistent residency policy
Wednesday, June 22, 2022
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County invests $925,000 in COVID-19 stimulus money to bolster south suburban metals, machinery and equipment manufacturers
Sunday, June 19, 2022
Daily Southtown

COVID-19 risk in Chicago, Cook County improves to ‘medium’
Friday, June 17, 2022
Chicago Sun-Times

Man found beaten to death inside Cook County Jail cell: autopsy
Wednesday, June 15, 2022
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County unveils new flag designed by high school student and inspired by 1893 World’s Fair goddess statue
Tuesday, June 14, 2022
Chicago Tribune

all news items

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