Another Shot In The Cook County Tax/Patronage War
We'll say this upfront: The Big News is that it takes Phoenix $2 million a year and 36 employees to handle all their documents, while it takes Cook County $19 million a year and 279 employees to do the same job. Ever earnest and diligent Cook County Commissioner Forrest Claypool produced a report this past week suggesting that if we upgraded our computer systems, we could cut the number of employees and save on the County Budget.
Here's the thing though: Does the Cook County Board really want to cut employees? Cutting employees means cutting patronage, and that means cutting power. Yikes!
It's budget time right now for the Cook County Board, and the Board is struggling to meet a $146 million shortfall. As a result, an annual struggle between the Reformist Commissioners and Board President John Stroger comes back to the fore. Raising taxes versus cutting employees/patronage. The Reformers are lead by Commissioners Claypool, Mike Quigley, and Larry Suffredin. Almost every year they try to cut the budget and number of county employees, and almost every year President Stroger fights them back, usually with some tax or fee increase.
Funny stuff too, when you consider that Claypool, Quigley and Suffredin are big, flaming liberals that in any other city would be branded as Tax-And-Spend-Democrats. And yet in Chicago, they fight taxes and patronage. What a bizarro world we live in.