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Stroger vetoes Cook County sales tax cut

Friday, July 24, 2009
Daily Herald
by Robert McCoppin

As promised, Cook County Board President Todd Stroger vetoed a half-percentage-point sales tax cut Friday, testing whether opponents can hold together a new coalition to override him.

Stroger's action maintains last year's 1-percentage-point tax increase, which brings the total tax in Chicago to 10.25 percent, the highest in the nation.

On Tuesday, the board approved reducing the tax by half a percentage point.

With commissioners facing elections next year, they said they had taken too much grief for it from the media and public.

Thirteen commissioners voted for the cut, and another supporter was absent, which would make 14 commissioners in favor.

Fourteen votes is what's required to override a veto by Stroger.

The board isn't scheduled to meet again until Sept. 1, and the tax cut, if approved, wouldn't take effect until Jan. 1.

Stroger said it's irresponsible to approve tax cuts without knowing where the spending cuts would come from.

Opponents, like potential board president challenger Larry Suffredin of Evanston, say new cost-saving measures will help make up the difference.

The cut stands to reduce revenues by $130 million to $140 million in the first year.

That would force budget cuts across the county of about 10 percent, excluding additional expected pension obligations.



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