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Cook County Budget Starts FY 2013 With A $270 Million Deficit

By aaroncynic in News on Jun 29, 2012 7:20PM

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. (Image via Preckwinkle's Facebook page.)
Cook County will begin the next fiscal year already in the red, with a $270 million budget deficit, WBEZ reports. The majority of the budget hole comes from the Cook County Health and Hospital system, which has a deficit of $152 million. In addition, the rollback of the other half of the penny sales tax increase approved by former Board President Todd Stroger will cost about $87.8 million. Board President Toni Preckwinkle told reporters earlier this week "This is going to be difficult. But this is the economic reality we face."

Yesterday's ruling on health care by the Supreme Court could work in Cook County's financial favor. Preckwinkle said the County could receive tens of millions of dollars in federal Medicaid money. The Board President also said that "anything is on the table" to help fill the budget hole. She said the County would enact a partial hiring freeze and that pension reform could help as well. Preckwinkle said “we believe these steps will aid us in our efforts to present a balanced budget to the Cook County Board in October, but we know that there is much more work to do in the coming weeks," NBC5 reports.

Though plenty of people have laid the County's problems on Todd Stroger, he told reporters earlier this week that Preckwinkle needs to look in the mirror. The Sun Times reports Stroger said “I can’t take the blame for what’s going on — what is it? — 18 months after I’m gone."