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Stroger backs off no-tax pledge

Thursday, February 22, 2007
Daily Herald
by Rob Olmstead

Cook County Board President Todd Stroger on Wednesday backed off his office’s promise to veto a tax on sulfur dioxide emissions and said he’ll have to consider the matter.

“The president will veto it,” Stroger spokesman Steve Mayberry said unequivocally Tuesday. “He’s consistently said … that he is not in favor of any tax increase, and his veto would simply be reflective of what he said all along.”

“I don’t know yet,” Stroger said Wednesday when asked directly by reporters. “We’ll see what the legal opinion is.”

Stroger was referring to the opinion voiced by several commissioners that the tax the board voted for would be unconstitutional for several reasons.

Asked if not vetoing a tax increase would break his campaign pledge, Stroger explained that it would not, because he vowed only to keep taxes the same for one year.

“For this budget? No, it would not,” said Stroger, who promised a decision within five days.

He referred to commissioners who said, in passing the bill, they would not count on the roughly $3 million the tax is expected to raise this year because they expect a legal challenge to it.

A reporter pointed out that even if the money wasn’t budgeted this year, the tax ordinance called for it to be collected this year.

“No, you’re thinking much faster than I am. That’s why I’ve got five days,” Stroger said, smiling.



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