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.
   
     
     
     



County Board OKs $3 billion budget

Tuesday, February 24, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
by ABDON M. PALLASCH

Just after midnight today, the Cook County Board passed a $3 billion budget.

To plug a $57 million deficit, board members hiked the Cook County tax on cigarettes, adding 82 cents to every pack starting April 1. That could make the price for a pack of cigarettes $5.63 with state, city and federal taxes.

Opposition-bloc board members held up Board President John Stroger's budget for three months, refusing his requests for a sales tax hike and a new lease tax. The said they wanted him to cut fat in the budget instead of passing new taxes.

In the end, they got only $5 million in cuts. Stroger plugged the rest of the hole with the cigarette tax hike and $20 million in what critics called "miracle money" Stroger's Finance staff presented Monday morning.

"They pulled $20 million out of their ear 30 minutes before the budget vote from obscure accounts nobody ever heard of before," said Commissioner Forrest Claypool. "The $20 million of money that just materialized at the last minute just proves that this is a padded, Enron-style budget. There are tens and tens of millions of dollars stashed away in hidden accounts."

The money came from the "Unknown Heirs Legal Settlement" -- $14 million -- and the "Treasurer Indemnity Fund Escheatment" -- $6 million. That is unclaimed money from estates of people who died without close relatives making claims.

"It's magic," Board member Tony Peraica said with a smile. "Rather than cut expenditures, they use smoke and mirrors."

But Stroger defended his approach, saying he was not prepared to cut medical personnel at the county hospital and denying there is any fat to cut in the budget. Stroger says he has cut personnel and held the line on property taxes for the last five years in a row. The county's bond rating has never been higher.

The lion's share of Monday's cuts -- $3 million -- came from Cook County Sheriff Michael Sheahan's budget: $75,000 less to board and lodge jurors, $450,000 less from "personal allowances not otherwise classified."

As Stroger challenged Sheahan to cut his budget, Sheahan pulled four of the five sheriff's police officers that served as Stroger's bodyguard/drivers. Cook County State's Attorney Dick Devine took another $800,000 in cuts and Chief Judge Tim Evans cut $200,000.

Peraica referenced a Monday Chicago Sun-Times story about state's attorney vehicles sitting idle in a garage at the Criminal Court building in his argument that there was fat to cut in the budget.

"There's been 30 cars sitting idle for months," he said.

Commissioners started their meeting at 10 a.m. Monday and went past midnight. They broke from 1:15 p.m. to 4 p.m. so commissioners could attend Sun-Times columnist Steve Neal's funeral mass.

Opposition-bloc commissioners scored one victory: $500,000 for an Access to Care health program in the city of Chicago. Stroger said it was designed for the suburbs. The opposition commissioners lost 10-7 on a vote to make county departments live within their 2003 budget.

 

 



Recent Headlines

Can courts do more to force FOID card violators to give up their guns?
Monday, February 17, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Keep the Cook County Health board independent
Sunday, February 16, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Park Ridge looks to move 911 dispatching services to Cook County call center
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Editorial: A report’s flaws suggest: Cook County bail reforms may have endangered the public
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Offering rehab instead of jail time, ‘Drug Court’ gives some a second chance
Thursday, February 13, 2020
WGN News

Preckwinkle aide barred from her offices after sexual harassment incident
Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

New outreach group combating Cook County’s opioid crisis by offering treatment, hope
Tuesday, February 11, 2020
WGN News

Evanston Officials Eye County Grant for Construction of New Animal Shelter
Monday, February 10, 2020
Evanston RoundTable

CTA to spend $38 million studying Red Line extension
Monday, February 10, 2020
Chicago Tribune

In Illinois — the Prairie State — little prairie land remains. But work is being done to save what’s left in Cook County and restore more.
Thursday, February 06, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Brookfield Zoo chief heads for the exits
Thursday, February 06, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Suspect in weekend killing of Cook County inmate accused of beating another detainee in November attack captured on video
Wednesday, February 05, 2020
Chicago Tribune

MacArthur grants Cook County another $2.5 million for criminal justice reform
Wednesday, February 05, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Property tax hikes won’t be that bad, new report says
Wednesday, February 05, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

MacArthur Foundation donates $2.5 million to Cook County Criminal Courts
Wednesday, February 05, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Improvements planned for Green Bay Road in Evanston as part of long-term project
Tuesday, February 04, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Cook County judicial candidate Arthur Sutton has history of disciplinary issues
Tuesday, February 04, 2020
Injustice Watch

Area legislators dish on policy plans that impact seniors
Tuesday, February 04, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Pappas and other Cook County, Chicago and federal elected officials urge residents to return the 2020 Census questionnaire
Monday, February 03, 2020
Daily Herald

Plans for new Provident Hospital paused
Monday, February 03, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

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