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Preckwinkle: Pension plan may lower Cook County sales tax. But is plan legal?

Monday, July 13, 2015
Chicago Tribune

As Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle scrambles to collect the votes she needs to pass her penny-on-the-dollar sales tax increase, she's holding out the possibility she'll scale back the tax hike down the road if the state approves her proposed overhaul of the county government worker retirement system.

But it's unclear whether Preckwinkle's pension plan can withstand an inevitable legal challenge. It would reduce cost-of-living increases, and the Illinois Supreme Court recently ruled that doing so violates the state constitution.

Preckwinkle aides say her approach is different because the county would provide something in return: increased taxpayer contributions into the pension fund and guaranteed health care insurance subsidies for retirees.


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