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Cook County Board Approves 2015 Budget

Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Progress Illinois

By a 13-1 vote, the Cook County Board on Friday signed off on Board President Toni Preckwinkle's $4 billion budget plan for next year.

Commissioner Larry Suffredin (D-13) voted 'no' on the budget proposal and Commissioner John Fritchey (D-12) voted present.

Suffredin did not support the fiscal plan because he said the "budget was not transparent enough and it hid serious structural flaws that postpone serious funding deficits until next year."

"This budget contains no new taxes, fees or fines. It does signal that significant revenue increases will be necessary next year to meet our healthcare and pension needs," the commissioner said in a statement. "Postponing bad news does not eliminate it. There is no planning for next year built into this election year budget. Transparency requires that I warn people of the coming budget storm. The failure to 1) properly address our increasing jail population, 2) shore up CountyCare; and 3) stabilize our government in the face of pension changes will have a profound impact on the future of Cook County."

Preckwinkle issued the following statement after the budget vote:

I commend the Board of Commissioners for approving the 2015 Cook County budget today.

For the second consecutive year we have passed a balanced budget with no new taxes, fines, fees or layoffs. This budget makes important infrastructure investments, carefully reorganizes our approach to real estate management, holds the line on positions and works to improve public safety.

This budget will help provide essential County services in 2015 while also addressing our long-term fiscal challenges. I am proud to note that the County will have less bond and self-insurance debt at the end of FY 2015 than when I took office four years ago.

We are making significant improvement throughout the County but we have more work to do. In the coming year, we will focus on implementing criminal justice reforms to reduce costs and create a more just system, leading regional economic development efforts to produce jobs and opportunities for residents and businesses, and securing pension reform legislation to protect the retirement security of our workers and the interests of taxpayers.

The budget passed today is the product of many months of hard work. I want to thank our Bureau of Finance, commissioners, elected officials, County departments and the public for their involvement and input. I also want to recognize Finance Chairman Daley for his work crafting this budget and hosting public meetings to solicit feedback from County residents.

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