Suffredin- Changing County Government  
 

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.

   
  The first blood bank in the world was established at Cook County Hospital by Dr. Bernard Fantus in 1937.
   
     
     
     



Four weeks to kill the soda tax

Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Chicago Tribune
by Editorial Board

With both sides steadfast yet lacking the votes to prevail, Cook County Board members on Wednesday kicked to next month a decision on whether to repeal the unpopular soda tax. The board is expected to take action at its Oct. 11 meeting.

In other words, soda tax opponents: You’ve got four weeks to keep up the pressure. Don’t let up. Kill this arbitrary, unnecessary, expensive tax.

The penny-an-ounce soda tax that kicked in Aug. 2 spawned deep and bitter backlash among Cook County shoppers. In addition to a lawsuit filed by a retailers association, County Board members who voted for the tax in November 2016 have been inundated with complaints and threatened with ouster in next year’s elections. Polls show that threat is real.

“The only way to repeal the tax is to replace the commissioners,” Chicago activist Andre Smith said during three hours of public testimony Wednesday.

Smith said he intends to run for the West Side-based 2nd District seat, challenging new Cook County Board member Dennis Deer, who joined the board in July. Deer is one of two commissioners who are particularly vulnerable on this issue. The other is Edward Moody, who represents south Cook County, which gets pounded by competition from Indiana. Moody voted in favor of the tax last year but is facing intense pressure to flip his vote.

Hear that, tax opponents? Deer and Moody. Oh — and a third commissioner who helped install the tax, Luis Arroyo Jr., may be more vulnerable than he realizes. Give them a call, why don’t you? Call them all. Light up their phones.

Board President Toni Preckwinkle has ceded no ground, despite polls showing that the tax is deeply unpopular. So far, millions of dollars in television ads financed by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg have not convinced Cook County residents that the tax is necessary.

A We Ask America poll conducted in early September showed that 88 percent weren’t buying Preckwinkle’s claims that the tax was motivated by health concerns, and 85 percent want it repealed. In an earlier poll, 83 percent said the soda tax would influence their vote next year, when Preckwinkle’s and all board seats are up for election.

The backlash from constituents has not stopped Preckwinkle from doubling down. At a news conference Wednesday, she said she would be forced to fire county workers — including doctors, nurses, public defenders and corrections officers — if the tax, expected to generate roughly $200 million annually, is repealed.

“A vote to repeal … is a vote to fire frontline health care workers,” she said.

Her threats, naturally, brought out unionized county workers to advocate in favor of the tax. Some of them wore T-shirts that read, “Support Healthy Kids.”

Because, you know, it’s for the children.

At least one member of the American Federation of State, Municipal and County Employees, however, testified that the tax needed to remain in place to protect union jobs.

What was that about the kids again?

Commissioner Richard Boykin and other opponents believe there are ways to eliminate the soda tax and maintain the same level of county services within the existing budget. In July, Boykin recommended streamlining county purchasing, reducing litigation and overtime costs, instituting a countywide hiring freeze and cutting 1,500 positions that are funded but vacant.

Preckwinkle said she doubts his changes would be enough to fill the budget hole and if he thinks otherwise, “Prove it up. I don’t think he can.”

Full stop right there. Preckwinkle is playing an old Cook County game: Pretend that every single dollar, every single job slot, every single expenditure, absolutely has to be in a proposed annual budget. And pretend that raising more revenue is the right answer.

So she’s challenging opponents of the tax to show how Cook County can live without it?

Make it work, opponents.

And voters, let’s insist. You have four weeks.

Join the discussion on Twitter @Trib_Ed_Board and on Facebook.



Recent Headlines

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

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

EDITORIAL: A judge drops a gun on a courthouse floor. So much for respect for the law
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Forest preserve officer who didn't help woman in Puerto Rican flag shirt 'tarnished the whole department,' commissioner says
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Preckwinkle apologizes to woman berated by man at forest preserve for wearing Puerto Rican flag shirt
Tuesday, July 10, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Video appears to show forest preserves officer failing to help woman being harassed for wearing shirt with Puerto Rican flag design
Tuesday, July 10, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Could blockchain technology transform homebuying in Cook County — and beyond?
Monday, July 09, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Forest Preserves probe cop’s response to Puerto Rican harassment complaint
Monday, July 09, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

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