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County Votes Down Taxes, Bill Beavers Throws a Tantrum

By Kevin Robinson in News on Dec 13, 2007 5:50PM

In quick succession, the Cook County Board shot down a series of tax hikes yesterday, including proposed increases on electricity and natural gas. Five other increases backed by Democrat Roberto Maldanado, including taxes on SUVs, hotel stays, jet fuel and liquor sold in bars, died without support from any commissioners.

2007_12_cook_county.jpgThe 2-14 vote against the electricity and natural gas taxes, proposed by Stroger ally Bill Beavers, signaled the unofficial death of Board President Todd Stroger's dream of hiking the county sales tax by two percent. "If you don't like it, change it. Cut," Beavers said adding that there is “a lack of goodwill” among the board, and a political agenda to shut down the government to show “Todd can’t run the county.” With a budget deficit of nearly $238 million looming, and no agreement in sight, the board ordered all county department heads and elected officials who are not commissioners to present plans to cut their operations by 10 percent.Mike Quigley and Forrest Claypool said that unless they can institute management reforms, closing the deficit will be very difficult. After scheduling testimony for December 19, Finance Committee Chairman John Daley warned that the meeting will not be a "lovefest" about how their departments should be exempt. "Hopefully, this time people will ask the elected officials serious, serious questions about their budgets, rather than praising them, what a great job they're doing, blah, blah, blah," Daley said.