Suffredin- Changing County Government  

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


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

Preteens out of detention before trial under new ordinance
Friday, September 14, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Cook County Board bars detention of youth under 13 years old
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Injustice Watch

Preteens accused of crimes won't be locked up at Cook County juvenile center
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Slowik: Cook County offers residents last chance to comment on strategic plan
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Daily Southtown

Settlement over Cook County's 2007 decision to cut inmates' dental care will cost nearly $5.3 million
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Anti-patronage Shakman pact requiring federal oversight of Cook County hiring, firing to end
Friday, August 31, 2018
Chicago Tribune

1st District upholds merit board in firing of deputy
Thursday, August 30, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Neighborhood program helps Cook County residents buy homes
Sunday, August 26, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Judge upholds Cook County firearm, ammunition taxes
Thursday, August 23, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Editorial: E-filing should make Cook County courts more accessible. It doesn't
Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County tax incentive could pave way for Wingstop, Dunkin' Donuts on Elgin's Summit Street
Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Editorial: What happened to the elk?
Friday, August 10, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Wells Fargo to offer $15,000 grants to potential Cook County homebuyers
Thursday, August 09, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Suit alleges Cook County detainees secretly monitored in bathrooms in holding cells at courthouses
Wednesday, August 08, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Half the elk at Busse Woods died last year, and officials aren’t sure why
Tuesday, August 07, 2018
Chicago Tribune

A letter from Dr. Jay Shannon regarding gun violence and Stroger Hospital
Tuesday, August 07, 2018
Special to

As Evanston adapts to minimum wage hike, nearby towns say they have no plan to join in
Tuesday, August 07, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Lawsuit could blast a $250 million hole in county budget
Monday, August 06, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

Pappas: Automatic refunds of $19.5 million going to 53,000 homeowners because of property tax cuts
Monday, August 06, 2018
Special to

Thousands of Cook County homeowners to receive property tax refunds
Monday, August 06, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

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