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.
   
     
     
     



Opinion: Cook County overlooking savings as it hikes sales tax

Monday, July 27, 2015
Chicago Sun-Times
by Andy Shaw

Be like Mike, Madam President.

Like a tall shadow in a blue suit, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle confidently defended her controversial plan to increase the county’s sales tax by 1 cent at a public hearing last month.

She shook hands with a chorus of supporters — clergymen, county workers, retirees, union leaders and suburban mayors — whose comments echoed her rationale for restoring the penny she campaigned to eliminate in 2010: The county needs nearly half a billion dollars to cover a pension shortfall, debt repayments and infrastructure needs.

OPINION

They called Preckwinkle “bold” and “courageous” for taking “the bull by the horns” — not “kicking the can down the road” or waiting for a state bailout — and last week, after a lengthy debate, county commissioners narrowly concurred.

Preckwinkle’s masterful lobbying job included a pledge to roll back part of the increase — around $200 million — if state lawmakers approve pension reforms.

But she and the commissioners don’t have to wait for Springfield — they can revisit now-Congressman Mike Quigley’s 2003 reform plan, when he was a county commissioner from the city’s North Side.

Quigley’s “Reinventing Cook County” highlights more than 40 potential efficiencies, including consolidating departments, tapping new revenue streams, eliminating programs, transferring services and cutting expenses.

He projected savings of more than $130 million a year, or $170 million in today’s dollars.

Several suggestions have been tried, and a few require state legislation or local government cooperation, but many are clearly within the County Board’s purview. For instance:

  • Quigley projected $36 million in savings by controlling overtime, which continues to be a problem, as evidenced by a $240,000 OT bill for 1,300 County Jail employees who called in sick on Super Bowl Sunday or the next day.
  • He envisioned up to $32 million in reduced jail costs by expanding home monitoring.
  • His report projected $24 million in savings by transferring the sheriff’s patrol of unincorporated county areas to local municipalities, and another $10 million by off-loading maintenance of county highways to local governments.
  • He estimated savings of $8 million by eliminating a county boot camp that mirrors one the state operates; $8 million by trimming consultant fees; $7 million by privatizing the delivery of court summonses; and $3 million by merging property tax administration into one office.

In 2012, the County Board talked about and discarded a couple Quigley recommendations, including a slam dunk: Merging the paper-pushing functions of two offices — Recorder of Deeds and County Clerk — into one, to save up to $1 million.

Other Quigley proposals are more challenging, but the same Preckwinkle supporters who praised her tough choice on the sales tax should implore her and the commissioners to consider additional reforms that can cut costs, generate revenue and make county government more efficient.

Preckwinkle knows how to streamline — she’s cut the county payroll by 8 percent, reduced health costs by $225 million, and come up with $70 million in savings and new revenue by sharing purchasing and service delivery with the City of Chicago.

So let’s take the next step by dusting off the Quigley report and figuring out what’s feasible today. That could pave the way for a sales tax rollback without relying on Springfield.

As I said to begin this column: Be like Mike.

Andy Shaw is president & CEO of the Better Government Association.



Recent Headlines

Cook County Jail detainee dies of COVID-19
Tuesday, April 07, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Housing News from the Housing Authority of Cook County
Monday, April 06, 2020
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County Medical Examiner Acquires Warehouse to Serve as COVID-19 Surge Center
Monday, April 06, 2020
WTTW News

Kaegi starting over on countywide tax assessments, adjusting for pandemic’s impact on property values
Monday, April 06, 2020
The Daily Line

Cook County’s chief architect of COVID-19 response ousted, puzzling some, alarming others
Monday, April 06, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Sheriff Dart blasts letter alleging he failed to provide jail staff protective equipment
Sunday, April 05, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Gov. Pritzker Lays Out Measures to Increase Testing, Hospital Capacity in Preparation for Additional Need
Sunday, April 05, 2020
Chicago Crusader

Cook County coronavirus death toll surpasses 200 as medical examiner announces 26 more deaths
Sunday, April 05, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

In Chicago, 70% of COVID-19 Deaths Are Black
Sunday, April 05, 2020
WBEZ News

Latest coronavirus news for April 5, 2020: Live updates
Sunday, April 05, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Coronavirus live blog, April 4, 2020: 2 die from coronavirus in Carol Stream nursing home
Saturday, April 04, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Jail staffers raise complaints about conditions as sheriff’s office assures steps taken to stem COVID-19
Saturday, April 04, 2020
Chicago Tribune

14th employee contracts COVID-19 at Cook County Circuit Court Clerk’s office
Saturday, April 04, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Assessor trying to ensure Cook County property values adjusted to reflect ‘coronavirus effect’
Friday, April 03, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County's head of COVID response is out
Friday, April 03, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County drawing on $100M credit line
Friday, April 03, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Dr. Terry Mason, head of Cook County’s public health department, out amid pandemic
Friday, April 03, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Chief judge’s office employee working at juvenile detention center tests positive for coronavirus
Friday, April 03, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

‘To us right now, time is life.’ Chinese community mobilizing to provide medical supplies to Chicago-area hospitals
Friday, April 03, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Mental health groups mobilize virtual community for those isolated by coronavirus outbreak. ‘This is a lifeline for people’
Friday, April 03, 2020
Chicago Tribune

all news items

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