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.

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



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

Illinois Supreme Court sets civil, criminal fee schedule
Thursday, February 14, 2019
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Seniors: Are your Cook County property taxes delinquent? Your home could be at risk
Thursday, February 14, 2019
WLS Abc 7 Chicago

Editorial: Look out, taxpayers: When governments have more pensioners than employees
Thursday, February 14, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Hundreds of accused criminals on electronic monitoring are missing
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
ABC Channel 7

Glenview adopts Cook County minimum wage and sick leave ordinances, effective July 1
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Lawsuit over property tax assessments survives challenge
Monday, February 11, 2019
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

EXPERIENCE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF THE FOREST PRESERVES THROUGHOUT WINTER
Thursday, February 07, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County Jail detainee dies at Stroger Hospital
Thursday, February 07, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office Says Its Gang Database Is on Lockdown, but Questions Remain
Thursday, February 07, 2019
Pro Publica

Charges dismissed against man accused of threatening judge
Thursday, February 07, 2019
Daily Herald

Double Down: Twin Brothers Rehabbing Chicago
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Chicago Defender

Slowik: Residents, officials celebrate rehab work at public housing sites
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Daily Southtown

Class action: Evanston can't charge 'convenience fees' to people paying tickets online
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Cook County Rercord

390 arrested in nationwide prostitution sting, including 38 in Cook County
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

As we build a road, we will protect the forest preserves
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Campaign to weed out European buckthorn across the suburbs
Tuesday, February 05, 2019
Northwest Herald

Airbnb hosts in Cook County earned $109 million last year: report
Monday, February 04, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County senior exemption deadline extended
Monday, February 04, 2019
Daily Herald

Decadelong legal battle over Barrington Hills horse farm — eyed as huge forest preserve — may be nearing resolution
Monday, February 04, 2019
Chicago Tribune

EDITORIAL: Protect iconic forest preserve from concrete overkill
Sunday, February 03, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

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