Suffredin- An Advocate for All of Us  
 

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.

   
  Cook County is the second most populous county in the nation. It is the 19th largest government in the U.S.
   
     
     
     



Preckwinkle: $82M Budget Hole Means ‘Difficult Choices’ For Cook County

Tuesday, June 19, 2018
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio
by Kristin Schorsch

WBEZ News

Preckwinkle: $82M Budget Hole Means ‘Difficult Choices’ For Cook County

After a brutal budget season last year that included hundreds of layoffs, Cook County department leaders will likely feel financial pain yet again in 2019.






The county budget is projected to fall short about $82 million for the fiscal year that starts Dec. 1, according to a budget forecast released Tuesday by Democratic County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s office. The good news for taxpayers: Preckwinkle expects no new fees or taxes. But they could be impacted because county departments, such as the Health and Hospitals System and the Sheriff’s Office, will have to make cuts.

“Needless to say it will be a challenging year,” said Commissioner John Daley (D-Chicago), who chairs the county board’s Finance Committee.

Still, Preckwinkle’s office highlighted that the gap is the smallest since she was elected in 2010.

The preliminary forecast for 2019 was part of Preckwinkle’s midyear review of county finances. Her office predicts the current fiscal year will end strong on Nov. 30. The government, which has a roughly $5.2 billion budget, expects to finish with a $600,000 surplus. 

Last year, Cook County eliminated more than 1,000 vacant jobs and laid off hundreds of workers to close a nearly $316 million budget gap. That was partly fueled by repealing the unpopular penny-an-ounce tax on sugary drinks, which blew a big hole in county finances

But the budget headaches won’t go away in 2019. County financial officials blame the expected shortfall on a variety of expenses that are growing faster than inflation. That includes health insurance costs for the county’s largely unionized workforce. 

The county health system is responsible for more than a third of the $81.8 million gap. That’s largely due to climbing expenses tied to booming enrollment in the system’s health insurance plan for poor and disabled people on Medicaid. The plan’s membership has swelled by 130 percent since last year.

Commissioner Richard Boykin, a frequent critic of the president, had some suggestions on how to solve the gap: Eliminate jobs with high turnover rates and get better at billing insurance companies for care the county health system provides. That’s something the health system is working on, and was underscored in a harsh inspector general report earlier this year.

“This is an opportunity for us to further rightsize things,” said Boykin, an Oak Park Democrat. 

Also on Tuesday, Preckwinkle’s office acknowledged the county is in settlement negotiations with Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans, who oversees the county court system. He sued the president’s office after the County Board tried to eliminate around 150 jobs in his office as part of sweeping budget cuts. The layoffs never went through. It’s not clear what the financial impact of a settlement would be. 

A spokesman for Evans referred WBEZ to the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, which is representing the chief judge. A spokeswoman there said negotiations continue.

Kristen Schorsch covers Cook County politics for WBEZ. Follow her @kschorsch.

Correction: Due to an editor's error, an earlier version of this story incorrectly indicated that Commissioner Richard Boykin lives in Chicago. In fact, he lives in Oak Park and represents parts of Chicago's West Side and the near western suburbs.



Recent Headlines

Cook County forest worker was going 76 mph in 30 mph zone, had THC in system during fatal crash while on job: prosecutors
Thursday, July 19, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Judge faces ‘tough day’ in court answering charges he brought loaded gun to work
Thursday, July 19, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Preckwinkle, Evans end budget battle
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

How Transparent and Accountable Are Chicago, Cook County Governments?
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
WTTW Chicago Tonight

2 Cook County courthouses to close, employees spared layoffs under budget settlement: officials
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Troubled detainee at center of unusual court fight between Loyola hospital, Cook County
Monday, July 16, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Commissioners Confounded by Hiring of Health System Consultant
Monday, July 16, 2018
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

Doctor fired by Cook County medical examiner now under the microscope in Indiana
Sunday, July 15, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

County officials defend Forest Preserves police in wake of man harassing woman over Puerto Rican flag shirt
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Familiar questions about ‘bystander effect’ arise after man berates woman for Puerto Rico shirt
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Berrios' analysts used Zillow, other shortcuts in assessing property values, documents show
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Northbrook to revisit Cook County paid sick leave policy after opting out last year
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Forest Preserves officials discuss officer's resignation
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Amid video fallout, Cook County Forest Preserve District reveals fatal crash involving worker and governmental truck
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Transformation in the outdoors
Friday, July 13, 2018
Special to suffredin.org

Forest preserve cop resigns after apparently failing to help woman being harassed over Puerto Rico shirt
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

5 things: A civics lesson on Puerto Rico after man rants about woman's flag T-shirt, questions citizenship
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Commissioners: Get Rid of Forest Preserve Police
Thursday, July 12, 2018
WTTW Chicago Tonight

Schneider wants hearing over fatal crash blamed on Cook forest preserve driver
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Daily Herald

Man who harassed woman for Puerto Rican flag shirt charged with hate crime
Thursday, July 12, 2018
WLS ABC 7 Chicago

all news items

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