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Reader Feedback: Spending Millions on Vague Prgram A Mistake

Friday, April 08, 2016
Chicago Sun-Times
by Commissioner Sean M. Morrison

6-26-09 The Cook County Seal on the carpet at the entrance to the County Building 118 n Clark. Brian Jackson/Chicago Sun-Times

6-26-09 The Cook County Seal on the carpet at the entrance to the County Building 118 n Clark. Brian Jackson/Chicago Sun-Times

A Cook County ordinance has been proposed to create a “Youth Employment Special Fund.” The sponsors of this proposal intend to fund this program by taking from property owners a 5 percent reduction in an economic tax incentive benefit; incentives that provide economic stimulus.

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The County Board has been asked to approve an extremely vague two-paragraph proposal that provides no specific details on funding accountability or program implementation. The most fundamental questions have not been addressed: What is the structural framework of this program and how will it be implemented? Who would have oversight of these funds? Has a specific cost been identified for this program?

Cook County could potentially spend millions of tax dollars on a youth employment program that does not yet exist on paper. A “trust us, we’ll figure it out later” strategy is irresponsible.

With no specific details to be considered, this proposal has the potential to appear as a slush fund. And after watching Gov. Pat Quinn’s NRI program (similar in nature) come under federal investigation in 2014, I cannot support legislation that does not outline its fiscal policies and oversight measures in a very transparent and detailed manner. Though well intended, vague generalities do not always serve the best purpose nor does it instill confidence in our constituents, the taxpayers.

At a time when Cook County is faced with serious fiscal issues, we must be prudent in our allocation of tax dollars and that is why I look forward to continue working with my colleagues to create the appropriate fiscal policies and oversight measures for the betterment of Cook County government.

Sean M. Morrison,
Cook County commissioner,
17th District



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