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.
   
     
     
     



183 days, $200 million, Dec. 19

Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Chicago Tribune
by Editorial

Tuesday concludes the first half of Cook County's fiscal year, which runs from Dec. 1 to Nov. 30. So how goes it for this storied protectorate of patronage hires, overstaffed offices and juicy contracts for campaign donors?

Earlier this year the Cook County Board cut just enough flab to close a $73 million shortfall in its 2005 budget. The county's budget director warned at the time that the shortfall for 2006 would be bigger--close to $200 million.

You'd like to think that would spark a furious effort among the 17 board members, all of whom are up for re-election next year. This is a government in which--if you work in the private sector, you'll love this--a 2 percent cut from budget requests is called drastic. Cook County's offices need to be downsized, consolidated, streamlined. Cutting another $200 million is merely a step toward creating the more efficient operations that taxpayers can afford.

You'd like to think all that, but you'd be wrong. As usual, many County Board members will wait for board President John Stroger to float a 2006 budget. The bet here is that, as always, he'll blame Washington and Springfield for not giving his sclerotic government more money--and will ask for tax increases.

Stroger didn't get the unneeded tax hikes he wanted in 2004 and 2005, so it'll be fun to see whether he asks board members to further gouge Cook taxpayers during an election cycle.

Fat chance they'll play along.

Here's what those board members should be thinking: We have 183 days to cut $200 million. If we don't save $1 million every day, we aren't doing our jobs. We need to act now. Because it's not just Nov. 30 that should worry us. Our big fear is Dec. 19. That's the filing deadline for challengers who think accepting $85,000 a year to mismanage this county's $3 billion budget is a crime--punishable by ouster from our cushy jobs.

Board members should be rampaging through reports that have been piling up for years on structural ways to save money. And they should insist that Stroger's negotiators hang tough (for once) in contract talks with the county's unions.

Board member Michael Quigley, who has written many of those cost-savings and downsizing reports, says the County Board's perennial refusal to make the tough decisions on how to conserve taxpayers' money meets his definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results. Right now--not during some manufactured budget crisis next winter--is the time to demand big, permanent changes in staffing, in overtime, in management layers, in virtually automatic pay raises.

Stroger's spokeswoman says his administration is working to buy health insurance jointly with other governments, consolidate what even Stroger admits are duplicative offices in the health department, and seek more help from the unions on such issues as medical premiums. Budget officers' talks with department heads and elected officials also have turned up areas in which privatization would save money.

Those are good first efforts--if they happen. If they don't, and if this government wants more taxes, voters will know what to do. So the mantra is simple: 183 days, $200 million, Dec. 19.


Recent Headlines

Artist Builds Effigy Mounds to Honor Indigenous People in Cook County
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
WTTW News

Cook County on pace for more than 900 homicides in 2020: medical examiner
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Skokie seeks federal reimbursement for coronavirus-related expenses
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle on Racial Equity Week
Monday, September 14, 2020
WTTW News

When Cook County inmates await trial for years, true justice is thwarted
Monday, September 14, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Illinois records 1,462 new COVID-19 cases, 14 additional deaths
Sunday, September 13, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Illinois tallies 2,121 more coronavirus cases, but testing positivity rate drops
Saturday, September 12, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County health department announces plans to spend up to $5.4M fighting COVID-19 in most-affected areas
Friday, September 11, 2020
Chicago Tribune

The first COVID-19 patients in Illinois faced stigma, bigotry. But experts say their contributions to science taught the US much about the virus.
Friday, September 11, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Suburban Chicago mom of strangled teen: Why, after 10 years, has suspect still not gone to trial?
Friday, September 11, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Why hospitals don't treat everyone equally
Friday, September 11, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

1,953 New COVID-19 Cases in Illinois, 28 Additional Deaths
Thursday, September 10, 2020
WTTW News

Gov. Pritzker Announces $16 Million Investment to Connect Out of Work Illinoisans with 1,300 COVID-19 Response Jobs
Thursday, September 10, 2020
Special to suffredin.org

Dipping COVID-19 numbers put Illinois in ‘decent position,’ but Pritzker urges staying the course: ‘We can’t outrun this virus’
Thursday, September 10, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

President Preckwinkle Announces Event Details for Second Annual Racial Equity Week, September 14 – 18, 2020
Wednesday, September 09, 2020
Chicago Crusader

Activists call for alternative Cook County ‘Budget for Black Lives’
Wednesday, September 09, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

More dips in summer COVID-19 roller coaster: State’s daily caseload and positive test rates down after week of climbs
Wednesday, September 09, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Activists, nurses union demand $157 million cut from Cook County sheriff’s office budget next year: ‘Black life is a priority’
Wednesday, September 09, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Pappas: Check your mortgage account if you refinanced this year. My office returned a record $51.2 million in property tax overpayments
Wednesday, September 09, 2020
Special to suffredin.org

UI Hospital seeks to block some nurses from striking
Wednesday, September 09, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

all news items

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