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 Hospital fills more outpatient prescriptions every day than are filled at 26 Walgreen's drug store combined.
   
     
     
     



Opinion: Cook County sales tax must be raised

Wednesday, July 01, 2015
Chicago Sun-Times
by Cook County Commissioner Jeffrey R. Tobolski

It is without question that an increase in Cook County’s portion of the sales tax is the most fiscally responsible way to address Cook County’s pension crisis.

The argument that the county should cut its budget instead of raising taxes is a reasonable one, and one that I made when I ran for commissioner in 2010. At the time the county budget was bloated with patronage hires and crony contracts while still failing to deliver adequate services to our residents. Prior administrations taxed and spent with impunity and deserved the scathing criticism they received.

But times have changed. Since 2010, under the reform leadership of President Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County government is smaller than ever, more efficient than ever and delivering high quality services. Each year we have cut taxes while also reducing the number of employees. Despite our cost cutting, we have still been able to invest in infrastructure, improve roads and bridges, develop a plan for economic development and bring reform to our criminal justice and healthcare systems. The taxpayers expected us to eliminate unnecessary employees, bad contracts, inefficiency, and bad services. We did that by being tough on ourselves and tightening our belts. We will continue to do so.

There is a single reason for increasing the county’s portion of the sales tax after such monumental success: pensions. The Cook County pension problem is so extreme that it can only be solved through a pension reform bill or by increasing the county’s funding of the pension fund. Unlike other governments whose pensions are underfunded because of failures to contribute, Cook County’s pension is underfunded because state law caps the amount of the contribution, and even though the county has always paid the max, it is mathematically impossible to fully fund the pension under the cap. It is like a law that does not allow you pay off your credit card every month; your debt would increase not because you would not pay, but because you could not pay.

To address this problem, President Preckwinkle went to Springfield to pass a pension reform that would allow us to honor our obligations to our retirees while not increasing taxes. The General Assembly didn’t pass our bill. So President Preckwinkle went back and tried harder to get it passed. But this spring the state Supreme Court ruled that any pension reform would be unconstitutional. I believe the only option that governments have is to fully fund the pensions. To fully fund the pension, Cook County needs to increase its contribution to the fund by over $400 million each year.

With pension reform off the table, Cook County must pay into the pension fund the amount necessary to cover our constitutionally required pension obligations. Since there is not $400 million in the budget to cut, the only way to pay that amount into the pension fund is to raise taxes.

President Preckwinkle and I support a sales tax increase because it is the fairest tax. All of us pay sales tax: from the wealthiest to the poorest, from Lynwood to Barrington. I ran on a platform of fiscal responsibility which means cutting where we can and seeking revenue only when we must. Right now we must.

Democrat Jeffrey R. Tobolski is the Cook County Commissioner for the 16th District, which includes parts of Chicago and the near West



Recent Headlines

Nearly a century after a brutal murder, Chicago’s only lynching victim gets memorial
Thursday, March 21, 2019
The Grio

County harassment survey shows mixed faith in reporting system
Thursday, March 21, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Recovery Behind Bars: Cook County Jail’s Opioid Treatment Program
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Medill Reports

Judge: Labor unions don't owe non-union state workers refunds, despite unconstitutional fees
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Cook County record

The language of justice: Court interpreters fight for client rights and their rights in Cook County
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Medill Reports

Cook County General Hospital's $90-Million Redevelopment Saves a Chicago Icon
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Engineering News Rec ord

Preckwinkle sends out harassment survey to staff after harassment controversy in her office
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Illinois Land Title Association Granted Summary Judgment in Case against Cook County Recorder of Deeds
Sunday, March 17, 2019
Illinois State Bar Association

Grand Jury Indicts Debt Collector of Bribing Cook County Clerk Dorothy Brown
Friday, March 15, 2019
WBBM Chicago

Indictment: Cook County's hired debt collector charged with bribing county officials to secure county contract
Friday, March 15, 2019
Cook County record

Karen Chavers Honored as 2019 Unsung Heroine
Thursday, March 14, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Pappas to announce deadline for Cook County property owners to pay late taxes
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Courts Cause Confusion For Woman Trying To Resolve Her Case
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
CBS Chicago

Census changes raise fears of Illinois undercounting
Monday, March 11, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Sheriff Warns of Apple Phone Scam
Monday, March 11, 2019
WTTW News

Caller poses as Apple to get victims personal info in scam targeting Cook County residents
Monday, March 11, 2019
WGN Chicago

Should Young Adults Be Sent To Juvenile Courts?
Sunday, March 10, 2019
NPR Radio

Cook County Jail hires 2nd consecutive mental health professional as warden
Wednesday, March 06, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Lawsuit: Sheriff jailed dozens because of faulty electronic monitoring devices
Monday, March 04, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Woman dies while in custody at Cook County Jail
Sunday, March 03, 2019
Fox 32

all news items

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