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Cook County's bowling for dollars? This is some state we're in

Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Chicago Tribune
by Phil Rosenthal

Bowling for dollars? Really? It's come to this in Cook County?

As if it weren't bad enough that their sport recently was eliminated from consideration to be an Olympic sport in Tokyo in 2020, bowlers would be taxed under Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle's proposed 2016 budget.

The county looks to tax bowling, tennis, golf and other public participatory sports. Cable TV, too. It's just another effort by another local government struggling to dig itself out of another financial mess.

This is written with a sigh of exasperation similar to that with which these moves have been proposed, as it's hard to argue, even with budget cuts, they're completely unnecessary. But still.

This is some state we're in.

Cook County and Chicago have started to address the ugly math — cuts to this and that, tax hikes and new fees — to pay down debt, pension obligations and whatever else has piled up like so much of what's revealed each spring when the winter snow by your sidewalk finally melts.

If Illinois' governor and legislature down in Springfield ever decide to get to work, who knows what they'll wind up having to cut and tax and by how much?

"Chief executives … at the county and the city and the state level in the past have not addressed our structural problems," Preckwinkle said during a meeting Wednesday with the Tribune editorial board. "The result of that is that we haven't met our obligations and now, basically, the chickens have come home to roost at every level."


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