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Effort to trim Cook County's proposed $3 billion budget stalls
Attempt to cut $84 million from Todd Stroger's spending plan fails

Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Chicago Tribune
by Hal Dardick

A proposal to cut $84.4 million from Cook County Board President Todd Stroger's 2009 budget proposal failed to win approval Monday, leaving commissioners at loggerheads just 19 days before the Feb. 28 deadline to approve the spending plan.

The proposed cuts, backed by Republicans and Finance Committee Chairman John Daley (D-Chicago), would have gone a long way toward balancing the proposed $3 billion budget, which is out of whack because most commissioners don't support Stroger's plan to borrow hundreds of millions of dollars to pay for operating expenses.

Daley, typically a Stroger supporter, said he will abstain from voting on the borrowing plan because of business and family conflicts involving companies involved in Stroger's proposed bond deal. When it was suggested Monday that the companies could be changed, Daley announced he would vote no in that case.

After rejecting the proposal to cut the budget, commissioners rejected a series of amendments aimed at closing the budget gap, which some contend should not exist because of last year's boost in the sales tax.

Stroger urged commissioners to reach compromise. "You're supposed to be talking people into doing things, not just sitting at home," he told the board toward the end of their meeting.

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