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:  
   
 
 

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.

   
  The Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange trade 60% of the world futures contracts.
   
     
     
     



Stroger at heart of tax debate
Some say he has not kept promise to streamline

Friday, September 28, 2007
Chicago Tribune
by Mickey Ciokajlo

The debate over Cook County's proposed sales tax increase -- and next week's expected vote on the plan -- hinges in part on the question of whether Board President Todd Stroger has overhauled a bloated bureaucracy enough to justify the increase.

Stroger's critics say no, he has done little to make the government run more efficiently and has continued the county tradition of adding friends and political supporters to the payroll instead of professionals.

He and his supporters on the County Board say yes, they have made much progress since Stroger was sworn into office in December.
"It's a new day in this county," said Commissioner Joan Murphy (D-Crestwood). "We're doing things differently."

Murphy is the sponsor of the proposal to increase the sales tax from 0.75 percent to 2.75 percent, but Stroger came a step closer to taking ownership Thursday as he defended his record.

Stroger, who called a special board meeting for Monday to consider the tax increase, said it is the best option to close a projected $307 million shortfall. He said the money would be needed in the future, when projections show the county's financial picture will only get worse.

"We have looked at [the] numbers. We think they will do what we need them to do, and I am talking to commissioners and saying, 'I think that this number will do it, are you behind it?'" Stroger said.

The rookie president said he can justify the tax increase because he has begun to retool the government and has made strides toward improving the operation.

"I think if you looked at our record in the last nine months you'll find that we've made changes, we've reduced the work force by about 10 percent," Stroger said. "We've made changes to the Bureau of Health. ... And we've made an overall effort to keep the commissioners involved in the process."

But critics of the tax increase, such as Commissioner Mike Quigley (D-Chicago), said the increase could be avoided if Stroger made the government more efficient by streamlining operations, consolidating departments and better utilizing technology.

"No one has made any effort to change the structure of this government," Quigley said. "And they bear the ultimate burden of the financial mess that we are in."

Quigley on Thursday noted Stroger's budget speech from January in which Stroger said his administration would "re-imagine" county government and transform a "sometimes sluggish culture" into a "modern and efficient operation."

Stroger said he would hold a budget summit of elected officials and experts, require county leaders to start from scratch in their budget requests every year and take other steps to attack government "bloat."

The summit never happened. Although the county has not moved to so-called "zero-based budgeting," Stroger said department heads and elected officials are being required to meet new performance standards in their spending plans to make them more accountable. The bloat question remains a matter of perspective.

Commissioner Forrest Claypool (D-Chicago), who led a news conference Thursday rallying opposition to the tax proposal, said the government contains unnecessary bureaucracy. He said a tax increase will take the pressure off efforts to force reform of the government.

"This is our chance," Claypool said. "The time is now. This is the battle."

Others say it is impossible to tell how much has changed under Stroger because he has not yet presented his budget proposal, which he plans to unveil sometime next month.

"There is no way to assess the validity of their claims of efficiency or performance measurement because they have not produced the requisite spending plan," said Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation, a budget watchdog group. "To ask [commissioners] to raise taxes without that spending plan prevents any meaningful analysis as to whether the money is needed or how it may be spent."

For example, Stroger on Thursday said that his administration had laid off 10 percent of the work force already this year. But hard numbers on lay offs have been a moving target and an administration spokesman could not provide a figure late Thursday.

Quigley predicted the reform vs. revenue debate on Monday will be long and passionate, but unlikely to change many minds among the sharply divided, 17-member board.



Recent Headlines

Live Updates: Looting Causes Food Shortages; Security Firms See Spike In Demand
Wednesday, June 03, 2020
WBEZ

So many were killed by gunfire in Chicago Sunday, the medical examiner brought in extra pathologists for the autopsies
Wednesday, June 03, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Here’s what’s happening Wednesday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area
Wednesday, June 03, 2020
Chicago Tribune

More positive results for antiviral drug remdesivir in battle against COVID-19
Wednesday, June 03, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Pritzker, Preckwinkle, faith leaders look ahead to rebuilding
Tuesday, June 02, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Social distancing measures remain in place at county jail
Tuesday, June 02, 2020
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Protests and peace: Pritzker, Preckwinkle, Cupich call for ‘peaceful action’ to stem ‘contagion’ of racism
Tuesday, June 02, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

With Dozens Being Shot Every Day, Anti-Violence Groups Continue Working Amid Looting And COVID-19
Tuesday, June 02, 2020
WBEZ News

Judge tells Cicero no more surprise visits at nursing home where more than a dozen died from coronavirus
Tuesday, June 02, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

George Floyd fallout: Gov. J.B. Pritzker deploys National Guard to suburbs, access to downtown Chicago remains restricted
Tuesday, June 02, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Circuit Court Clerk introduces electronic options for court information in non-criminal matters
Tuesday, June 02, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County sends officers, intel to aid suburban police: ‘We have been called everywhere’
Tuesday, June 02, 2020
The Daily Line

26th employee contracts COVID-19 at Cook County Circuit Court Clerk’s office
Tuesday, June 02, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Senior citizens in subsidized housing have been dying alone at home, unnoticed because of coronavirus distancing
Tuesday, June 02, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Disaster Proclamation Issued For Cook County As Chicago Faces Looting, Vandalism
Monday, June 01, 2020
Blockclub Chicago

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart: Carry on peaceful protests, but looters and arsonists will go to jail
Monday, June 01, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Monitoring Progress in Meeting the Criteria to Move to Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois Plan
Monday, June 01, 2020
Evanston RoundTable

Chicago protests of George Floyd death live blog: June 1, 2020
Monday, June 01, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Pritzker declares disaster in nine counties, mobilizes more National Guard troops, calls ‘for calm and peace in our streets’
Monday, June 01, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Editorial: Zero tolerance for rioting in the fight for police reform
Sunday, May 31, 2020
Chicago Tribune

all news items

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