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:  
   
 
 

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.
   
     
     
     



The soda tax was repealed, but Cook County still has to find a way to fund the government

Sunday, October 15, 2017
Chicago Reader
by Ben Joravsky

In the wake of today's repeal of the Cook County soda tax, I'd like to give a shout-out to the Cook County Board commissioner who's been speaking the most sensibly on the issue of the county's need to pay its bills.

That would be Larry Suffredin, the pride and joy of Evanston. He was one of two commissioners who, in a 15-2 vote, decided against a repeal; the other was Jerry "Iceman" Butler.

So come on down, Larry, and get your prize—a two-liter bottle of Mountain Dew! Soon to be soda-tax free!

The debate all began last November when Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle twisted enough arms to round up the eight votes she needed to get the board to slap a penny-per-ounce tax on sweetened beverages sold in the county. The Illinois Retail Merchants Association delayed the tax's imposition with a lawsuit that ultimately failed. So it wasn't until August when I got to watch another rendition of one of my favorite moments: Local residents waking up to realize that while they were busy not paying attention, their government was up to no good.

In this case it was more like, Omigod, soda costs more! Gatorade, too?! That's an outrage!

Man, Chicagoans—and Cook Countians—are a trip. Torturing suspects in the basement of police departments? "Where's my remote control?" But tax their soda? "This is war!"

I admit I'm all over the map on the soda tax. On the one hand, I realize it costs money to run courthouses, jails, hospitals, and other county operations.

So we've got to tax something.

On the other hand, why put the tax burden on the poor? It doesn't get much more regressive than a tax on sweetened beverages, which hits everyone the same no matter how much you make.

But we're apparently incapable of imposing a graduated income tax—with the added revenues helping to fund county operations. So we're stuck with the flat state income tax.

The state can't get it together to create a LaSalle Street transaction tax. And it's too cautious to legalize marijuana and tax that. Meanwhile the county's too chicken to raise property taxes. As much as I bitch and moan about paying them, I must concede the property tax is less regressive than a tax on beverages. So here we are—stuck with regressive taxes like soda.

Once she realized she'd ignited a Big Soda-abetted tax revolt, Preckwinkle changed the subject. She started talking about how the soda tax was really a public health initiative to get people to stop drinking sugary beverages.

But even voters in Cook County were smart enough to see through that spin. If the tax works and convinces people to stop buying unhealthy drinks, the tax yield would steadily fall—and in a matter of years the county would be again looking for money to fund government.

At Tuesday's hearing, Suffredin pointed out that the county—soda tax or no soda tax—has to find a sustainable way to pay its bills. But his colleagues didn't seem to want to hear it. With the primary season just around the bend, their main objective was to undo the tax before it threatened their reelection.

Sooner or later something's gotta give. Government will either go bankrupt—which seems to be Governor Rauner's plan—or we're going to have to find the will or courage to pass a more progressive tax.

The attitude of state, county, and city officials toward funding government reminds me of those Hollywood players who chose to ignore evidence that Harvey Weinstein allegedly was sexually abusing women.

Denial may enable us to avoid upsetting confrontations, but only for so long.



Recent Headlines

Cook County Public Defender Amy Campanelli on Gun Violence, Police Database.
Monday, August 26, 2019
WTTW

Assessor: Homes values, sale prices up in Schaumburg Township
Tuesday, August 20, 2019
Daily Herald

Home improvement grant designed to get the lead out
Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Cook County census panel seeks outreach help for hard-to-count communities
Monday, August 19, 2019

Cook County Land Bank Authority Announces Opening of Registration to Give Away a Free Home
Tuesday, August 13, 2019
The Chicago Crusader

NEW ILLINOIS LAW ENDS $120 FEE TO CLEAR FALSE CRIMINAL RECORDS IN COOK COUNTY
Friday, August 09, 2019
Illinois Policy

America’s most interesting sheriff
Friday, August 09, 2019

Top Cook County Jail chess players take on the world
Wednesday, August 07, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Public defender takes shots at Chicago Police gun offender webpage
Wednesday, August 07, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Commentary: Data alone won’t stop Chicago gun violence; Cook County needs a public ‘Violence Reduction Dashboard’
Wednesday, August 07, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Jail detainees take on inmates around the world in online chess tournament
Tuesday, August 06, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Here’s What You Need To Know About The Ongoing Bail Debate In Chicago
Monday, August 05, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

Cook County Jail hosts international chess tournament
Monday, August 05, 2019
WGN Chicago

Cook County property taxes are due today, Aug. 1.
Thursday, August 01, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Forest Preserves of Cook County Celebrate Dan Ryan Woods Investments
Thursday, August 01, 2019
Chicago Defender

Cook County TIFs generate $1.2 billion
Thursday, August 01, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Changes coming to Cook County assessor’s office
Thursday, August 01, 2019
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

In Chicago, TIF Revenues Soaring
Wednesday, July 31, 2019
WTTW News

A controversial tax subsidy program will generate a record $1.2 billion in revenue. Here’s what the number means for Chicago.
Wednesday, July 31, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Group to rally in support of Kim Foxx as challengers emerge
Tuesday, July 30, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

all news items

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