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Cook County Board President Todd Stroger vetoes tax-hike repeal

Monday, May 11, 2009
Chicago Sun-Times
by Lisa Donovan

Cook County Board President Todd Stroger will veto the controversial rollback a penny-on-the-dollar county sales tax.

Stroger is expected to make a full announcement at 4 p.m. on WVON-AM 1690, said Sean Howard, a spokesman for Stroger.

Last week the majority of Cook County commissioners voted to repeal the the 1 percentage point hike Stroger pushed for, making the county’s share of the sales tax 1.75 percent on anything from dining out to clothing. That pushed Chicago’s overall sales tax to 10.25 percent, the highest in the country.

Stroger had until the end of the business day today to decide whether to veto the measure.

Originally, he had angrily promised to do just that. He argued that by rolling back the the sales tax it would hurt health care services — including closing Provident Hospital and a dozen clinics that serve the poor.

By his calculation, that could mean revenue losses of about $300 million.

During last week’s County Board meeting, a county budget officer said the rollback could mean 22 percent cuts across-the-county, which could add up to about 5,000 jobs.

He explained that Provident Hospital and other clinics that provide services for the poor could be casualties in the cuts.



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