Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  
 

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.

   
  Eighteen of the 20 largest banks in the world and more than 50 foreign banks have offices in Cook County.
   
     
     
     



Preckwinkle budget hits cable TV and golf, but includes lots of cuts

Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Crain's Chicago Business
by Greg Hinz

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle today moved to zap cable TV users, golfers and ticket resellers by extending the county's 3 percent amusement tax.

But with even bigger money already in hand—since the board this summer enacted a penny-on-the-dollar increase in the sales tax —Preckwinkle also unveiled some spending cuts that already are drawing fire as part of her proposed fiscal 2016 county budget.

The item that will make most of the news is the amusement tax extension, which according to a statement from Preckwinkle's office is "aimed at closing exemptions . . . for in-home cable, ticket resellers and recreational activities such as golf, while holding the tax rate steady at 3 percent."

The levy apparently will not apply to major sporting events, such as Chicago Cubs and Blackhawks games.

Preckwinkle also is proposing about $10 million a year in circuit court fees and a $1.5 million tax on e-cigarettes. "After the sales tax, asking for an additional $30 million is a bit much," said County Commissioner Lawrence Suffredin, an occasional Preckwinkle critic.

On the expenditure side, the big item is a $39 million reduction in the subsidy given to the Cook County Health and Hospitals System, to $125 million from $164 million.

Health officials were not immediately available to comment, but the cut could impinge on services if the system is not able to replace it with revenue from Obamacare and other programs.

The county chief said her budget includes $32.6 million in personnel cuts, including trims in the sheriff's office that will stem from shuttering three buildings on the jail campus.

With the jail population now at its lowest level since 1991, "it is logical and fiscally responsible to reduce the number of divisions at the jail."

The county's overall employee headcount would drop 1.2 percent—to 23,419 in 2016 from 23,706 in 2015—under the spending plan, "largely by eliminating vacancies, but also with some layoffs."

Sheriff Tom Dart's office did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but he is believed to back the reductions.

Preckwinkle said she also wants to consolidate the county's two general warehouses into one, and hopes to lease for private use an additional 75,000 square feet at the county-owned building at 69 W. Washington St.

A couple of cuts drew fire from Suffredin, including roughly $1 million for a drug diversion program in the state's attorney's office and a $3 million program designed to avert home foreclosures.

The sales tax will bring in roughly $474 million on an annual basis, but only $308 million in 2016, when it will be phased in. Some of that money will be spent on highway projects in the suburbs, but most will go toward the county's underfunded pension plan.

The budget overall is about $4 billion and will cover the fiscal year that begins Dec. 1.

Preckwinkle is to meet with Crain's editorial board later today, and I should have more details then. Budget details should be available later today at the county's website.

12:30 p.m. update — Sheriff Dart supports the cuts in his office, because the programs affected are lightly used and can be handled otherwise, according to a spokeswoman.

5 p.m. update — In a statement, Jack Segal, a spokesman for Comcast out of Chicago, said the company "appreciates Cook County's efforts to create a responsible budget, but this increase could make it harder for many Cook County families to gain access to cable TV services.”

“Most everyone watches TV, and for many, it provides their most consistent and reliable source of news, information and entertainment . . . This latest tax increase, combined with other recent tax and fee increases on cable TV services, would create an average additional burden of about $100 a year for millions of households in the county. That's a huge dollar amount for any family to absorb."



Recent Headlines

COVID crisis makes 28 percent of Cook households vulnerable to housing loss
Thursday, May 21, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Residents say they are being kept in the dark about COVID-19 as nearly 90 deaths are recorded at low-income housing in Chicago. ‘This is dangerous.'
Thursday, May 21, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Coronavirus In Illinois: State Surpasses 100K Confirmed COVID-19 Cases
Thursday, May 21, 2020
WBEZ News

Cook County passes COVID property-tax relief
Thursday, May 21, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County Board passes Sept. 30 disaster proclamation extension, property tax late fee waiver
Thursday, May 21, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Coronavirus live blog, May 20, 2020: Coming soon: Outdoor dining, drinking, tennis, golf, state parks – but Pritzker warns ‘We are by no means out of the woods’
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Forest Preserves promotes 'Memorial Day at Home'
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Daily Herald

State of play: Forest Preserve Golf puts safety first
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Cook County Forest Preserve Foundation

Latest coronavirus news for May 19, 2020: Live updates
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

COVID-19 death toll in Cook County surpasses 3,000
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Man recently released from Cook County Jail back behind bars for 2019 murder
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Niles home to most COVID-19 deaths among Cook County suburbs, majority reported in nursing homes, data shows
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Judge Tosses Suit Challenging DCFS Ban on Supervised In-Person Visits During Pandemic
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
WTTW News

The Chicago region and flooding: We sink or swim together
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Considers Property Tax Payment Extension To Oct. 1
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Journal and Topics Online

Online privacy breach adds to the worries of unemployed gig workers
Monday, May 18, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Closing streets for outdoor dining with safe social distancing? Sounds like a plan
Monday, May 18, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Data breach in new Illinois online unemployment system exposes private information
Monday, May 18, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Closing streets for outdoor dining with safe social distancing? Sounds like a plan
Monday, May 18, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Prognosis for COVID-19’s hit on Cook County finances plagued by ‘unknown unknowns’
Sunday, May 17, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

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