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A Tale of Two Budgets

By vouchey in News on Dec 29, 2004 1:30PM

cook_county_seal.jpgEvery fall two big budgets get rolled out in Chicagoland: the Chicago city budget, and the Cook County budget. This year the Chicago budget started with a $146 million shortfall, and before it was even public, the County budget also had a reported $146 million (kismet?). But over the years Mayor Richard M. Daley has managed to dominate/play nice with the City Council, while County Board President John "I've got a county hospital named after me" Stroger has been wresling with a squad of "reformist" Board Commissioners. Ergo, the Chicago budget has passed, the County budget has not.

Both budgets, one passed, the other in draft, have a four things in common: No property tax increases, minor staff cuts, bloated long-term debt payments, and hefty sales and entertainment tax increases. The reformist group of County Commissioners instead want an across the board 2% budget cut. "We're bloated," Commissioner Mike Quigley said. "I can't ask the taxpayers to pony up yet again when we haven't shown any discipline at all."

The Cook County Board has 17 members, five Republican, three of the Democrats are reformers. That means it takes only one vote to sink President Stroger's budget. Stay tuned folks: It's gonna get hot.