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Cook County Budget

For the current fiscal year (2018) I believe the county has reached a preliminary balance.  But, more revenue and/or cost cutting will be needed next year and beyond. 
However, Cook County's budget shortfall is not merely a product of the repealed sweetened beverage tax without revenue to replace it. The county has an ongoing structural deficit with 43 percent of the county's revenues coming from sources that are growing slower than inflation.

I oppose all unnecessary tax increases but the county must be prepared to find more revenue, and at the same time make cuts without reducing services. 

If there was a year round budget process then ideas like an increase in the county's portion of the gas tax, which has brought in approximately the same amount every year since 2000 could be examined.  The county could also look at creating a consumer services tax on things like pet grooming, country club and health club memberships.

But there are actions that could be taken now.  I propose that the first budget cut  come from a two-year hiring freeze for all non- essential positions. The county should also consider a one percent personnel reduction across the board in all departments for each of those two years. The average salary of Cook County workers – the total payroll divided by the number of active workers – has increased 57 percent since 2001, to $75,361 from $48,041, according to an analysis by Illinois Policy.   This equates to an annual average growth of 3 percent.  No where in the private sector have salaries grown at that rate.

Finally, there needs to be a comprehensive independent audit of the Cook County Health and Hospitals System to root out the waste and corruption that has plagued the system for years.

Committee to Elect Marcel Bright
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