Skip to comments.Cook County Board Approves 1% Sales Tax Hike
Posted on 03/03/2008 7:55:39 AM PST by Toddsterpatriot
Chicago, IL. -- A drink at the bar, a fast-food meal and back-to-school shopping are among those things about to get a bit more expensive in Cook County.
Early Saturday, Cook County Board President Todd Stroger struck a deal with board members, who approved a 1 percent increase in the sales tax - driving Chicago's overall sales tax to double digits at 10.25 percent, easily among the highest of any big city. And it will be enacted just in time for the Christmas shopping season.
We got where we needed to be, and thats a great victory for the five and a half million people who live and work in Cook County, Stroger stated in a release early Saturday. By working together, my administration and the board of commissioners have achieved a common goal today to ensure that the millions of County residents who rely on us for vital services can continue to count on us to meet those critical needs.
The budget also includes, according to the release from Stroger's office, "county-wide cuts of 4 percent, up to $180 million in sales tax anticipation notes, and various other revenue adjustments that have been made throughout the amendment process. The Stroger administration also agreed to fast-track its proposal to move towards an independent governance structure for the Countys health care system."
After months of perhaps the county's most contentious budget battles ever and the looming threat of court intervention in the budget debate, the county's $3.2 billion budget is set to be balanced by hiking the county's share of the sales tax from .75 to 1.75 percent.
The 1 percent sales tax hike will bring in more than $400 million in new cash every year to the county. This year, it will bring in about $71 million.
The county faces a $234 million deficit.
The influx of money will likely help Stroger avoid having to seek a tax increase in 2009 and possibly in 2010, when he's up for re-election.
Stroger had been one vote away from hiking the sales tax to 2.75 percent and he said he'd refuse to come down below setting it at 2 percent.
But after a day of heavy negotiating - including much intervention by labor leaders like Dennis Gannon, of the Chicago Federation of Labor, and elected officials like Sheriff Tom Dart, the deal was made.
Sources said Stroger was willing to barter, but advisors close to him kept talking him out of it. That led to shouting matches and bruised egos on both sides. Finally, a breakthrough came Friday afternoon.
The swing vote to pass the budget came from Commissioner Larry Suffredin, who campaigned for state's attorney on a boast that he had "stood up to Todd Stroger's tax increases," and as of early Saturday, his Web site still quotes him as saying "at this point, I see no need for any increase in taxes."
But Suffredin's willingness to deal came after Stroger agreed to give up control of the county hospital system - a patronage dumping ground for decades' worth of politicians - to an outside panel of professionals through 2010.
The compromise proposal calls for 15 officials from the medical, civic and labor community to pick 20 nominees to a hospital governing board. From there, Stroger will pick nine, to be approved by the county board.
Suffredin says the new board will bring true independence and professionalism to the hospital system and limit patronage opportunities.
Suffredin, while admitting a sales tax may not be "the best economic policy," noted it's half of what Stroger wanted, and said the hospital deal is a good trade-off for a 1 percent sales tax hike.
The deal allows county courts, the jail, health clinics and hospitals, among other county government functions, to remain operating for another year.
Without a budget, county officials will have been prohibited from expending any funds, emergency and otherwise, for continued government operation effectively shutting the county down. Stroger joined County Sheriff Tom Dart and States Attorney Dick Devine in filing a lawsuit Friday afternoon seeking emergency court intervention to preserve at least the operation of vital services, the release said.
Today, this administration moves forward in addressing a chronic structural deficit while continuing to meet the needs of those who rely on us for essential services, Stroger said.
Business leaders and others predicted immediate negative ramifications.
"Chicago now has the unfortunate notoriety of having the highest sales tax in the country, and our region will now be a more expensive place to visit, live, work and operate a business," said Jerry Roper, head of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. "The people of our region should be outraged."
It was funny (sad, actually) to watch the local TV newscasts to present this as “good news.”
The title should read: “Greedy, self-serving politicians steal another part of take home pay from unsuspecting voters.”
This is the sales pitch for the suckers on the city council. Like oil and water, rational human beings will leave the city for greener pastures. Where are the statistics showing the tolerance of Chicagoans for sales taxes? Would anybody care if they showed that higher taxes = less revenue?
Paying your fair share... How exactly do the rats get away with this crap... Tax you to death to pay for those lazy people that comprise the majority of their voting block...
Isn’t that punishing the hard working middle class?
I wonder if Obama will ask Oprah and his hollyweird buddys as well as the Kerry’s and Pelosi’s et.al multi millionaires to give up all that excess they have because in this
Great land of Freedom that we live their is no reason to have an under class of citizenry it is up to the government to solve this problem and redistribute from those that have excess to those that have little...
The combined worth of the U.S. top 25 percent earners could pay for health insurance for everyone in the U.S. and feed all the poor in the U.S. and subsidize welfare and social Security for the next 50 years with no tax increases.
So take Oprahs money and leave my money alone.
If this is a victory, I’d hate to see what they call a big loser...
Corruption is not a joke like many people believe, it has consequences.
People will not shop in Chicago and the economy will only get worse.
It will affect the poor the most because they can’t go to the ‘burbs to shop.
And they won't let any WalMarts open in the city.
Unless the previous sales tax rate was about 10.1%, the headline is a lie. If the previous tax rate was 9.25%, the percentage increase to 10.25% amounts to an almost an 11% increase in tax rate. Governments like to tell stupid reporters stupidities, becaues they will be unquestioned.
This follows the disastrous cigarette tax which
slowed the sales in Cook county but was a boon to Indiana.
This sales tax is their way (county board)
of making up the shortfall in decreasing revenues due to
the excessive rise in cigarette taxes.
The only thing that was missing from this minstrel show was Todd Stroger releasing a photo of his dad from beyond the grave and claiming he was still alive, a la the Soviets physically holding-up Chernenko for the cameras.
Taxes? Resistance is Futile
No, it's a great victory for the couple hundred thousand people who work FOR Cook County. It's a kick in the teeth for the rest of 'em.
Expect a lot of new stores to open just outside the Cook County line.
Yea, I bet the majority of them feel that way too.
How much longer until Stroger and his ilk vote themselves another salary and/or pension increase? Anyone?
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