Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  
 

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:  
   
 
 

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

   
 

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

   
  Eighteen of the 20 largest banks in the world and more than 50 foreign banks have offices in Cook County.
   
     
     
     



Preckwinkle budget hits cable TV and golf, but includes lots of cuts

Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Crain's Chicago Business
by Greg Hinz

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle today moved to zap cable TV users, golfers and ticket resellers by extending the county's 3 percent amusement tax.

But with even bigger money already in hand—since the board this summer enacted a penny-on-the-dollar increase in the sales tax —Preckwinkle also unveiled some spending cuts that already are drawing fire as part of her proposed fiscal 2016 county budget.

The item that will make most of the news is the amusement tax extension, which according to a statement from Preckwinkle's office is "aimed at closing exemptions . . . for in-home cable, ticket resellers and recreational activities such as golf, while holding the tax rate steady at 3 percent."

The levy apparently will not apply to major sporting events, such as Chicago Cubs and Blackhawks games.

Preckwinkle also is proposing about $10 million a year in circuit court fees and a $1.5 million tax on e-cigarettes. "After the sales tax, asking for an additional $30 million is a bit much," said County Commissioner Lawrence Suffredin, an occasional Preckwinkle critic.

On the expenditure side, the big item is a $39 million reduction in the subsidy given to the Cook County Health and Hospitals System, to $125 million from $164 million.

Health officials were not immediately available to comment, but the cut could impinge on services if the system is not able to replace it with revenue from Obamacare and other programs.

The county chief said her budget includes $32.6 million in personnel cuts, including trims in the sheriff's office that will stem from shuttering three buildings on the jail campus.

With the jail population now at its lowest level since 1991, "it is logical and fiscally responsible to reduce the number of divisions at the jail."

The county's overall employee headcount would drop 1.2 percent—to 23,419 in 2016 from 23,706 in 2015—under the spending plan, "largely by eliminating vacancies, but also with some layoffs."

Sheriff Tom Dart's office did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but he is believed to back the reductions.

Preckwinkle said she also wants to consolidate the county's two general warehouses into one, and hopes to lease for private use an additional 75,000 square feet at the county-owned building at 69 W. Washington St.

A couple of cuts drew fire from Suffredin, including roughly $1 million for a drug diversion program in the state's attorney's office and a $3 million program designed to avert home foreclosures.

The sales tax will bring in roughly $474 million on an annual basis, but only $308 million in 2016, when it will be phased in. Some of that money will be spent on highway projects in the suburbs, but most will go toward the county's underfunded pension plan.

The budget overall is about $4 billion and will cover the fiscal year that begins Dec. 1.

Preckwinkle is to meet with Crain's editorial board later today, and I should have more details then. Budget details should be available later today at the county's website.

12:30 p.m. update — Sheriff Dart supports the cuts in his office, because the programs affected are lightly used and can be handled otherwise, according to a spokeswoman.

5 p.m. update — In a statement, Jack Segal, a spokesman for Comcast out of Chicago, said the company "appreciates Cook County's efforts to create a responsible budget, but this increase could make it harder for many Cook County families to gain access to cable TV services.”

“Most everyone watches TV, and for many, it provides their most consistent and reliable source of news, information and entertainment . . . This latest tax increase, combined with other recent tax and fee increases on cable TV services, would create an average additional burden of about $100 a year for millions of households in the county. That's a huge dollar amount for any family to absorb."



Recent Headlines

Dart warns of 'dramatic increase' in accused gun offenders released on electronic monitors
Friday, February 23, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Anti-soda tax PAC jumps in Cook County Board races
Monday, February 19, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Wilmette minimum wage working group surveys businesses, will survey residents
Monday, February 19, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Circuit clerk gets stay on e-filing order
Friday, February 16, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Hundreds gather at Bridgeport church for Cmdr. Paul Bauer's wake
Friday, February 16, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Dart goes to court in effort to find person accusing him of domestic violence
Friday, February 16, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Study says property tax system favors rich
Friday, February 16, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Property Tax System ‘More Regressive’ in Cook County, Report Finds
Friday, February 16, 2018
WTTW Chicago Tonight

VIDEO: Cook County Jail detainees applaud CPD commander’s alleged killer
Friday, February 16, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Blockbuster report: How Cook County tax system shafts the little guy
Thursday, February 15, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

Order over lawsuits in Dorothy Brown’s office put on hold by appeals court
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Dorothy Brown can't 'end-run' First Amendment, judge says in denying delay
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County prosecutors toss more convictions tainted by corrupt ex-Chicago police Sgt. Ronald Watts
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Handwritten documents, Manila folders, carbon paper — welcome to Cook County criminal court
Monday, February 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

2 Cook County Commissioners missed over a third of Forest Preserve meetings
Sunday, February 11, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Jail guards lock down sweet union contract—despite sour budget mess
Sunday, February 11, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Running for judge, Dorothy Brown’s inspector general accepts donation from bos
Friday, February 09, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook Co. President Urges Trump To Stop ICE Arrests In Courthouses
Wednesday, February 07, 2018
Beverly Patch

Voting in Jail? New Bill Seeks to Expand Ballot Access for Detainees
Wednesday, February 07, 2018
WTTW Chicago Tonight

COOK COUNTY BOARD COMMISSIONER PROPOSES HEARING ON POLICE OVERSIGHT
Wednesday, February 07, 2018
WBEZ BGA

all news items

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