Cook County Board to vote on proposed sales tax increase
September 30, 2007 (WLS) -- There is a showdown in the Cook County Board, and it could end up costing residents money. Monday, the board could vote on whether to increase the sales tax by two cents on a dollar.
The increase would help bail the county out of a projected $300 million budget shortfall next year.The proposed tax increase would go into effect January 1, 2008.
The board president's hope is to pass the tax increase soon, which would allow the county to start collecting at the beginning of January. But, Stroger faces quite a bit of opposition.
The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce is one of the critics. Chamber President and CEO Jerry Roper says hiking the sales tax would be devastating for small businesses and would cause a loss of jobs.
But, Cook County Board President Todd Stroger says a billion dollar tax increase is needed to save the county's public health system. The county's hospitals and clinics are targets for cuts because a court order prevents the board from making public safety cuts.
So, if you shop in Cook County and complain about the high sales tax, just wait-- if Stroger has his way, consumers will be paying the highest sales tax in the country.
"We have to do something now. We have to make sure we have those dollars to keep the system going," said Todd Stroger.
The Board president says the county is facing a $307 million budget deficit. He also says increasing the sales tax by two cents is the only way to continue funding the Cook County public health system, specifically Stroger hospital.
"This [is] rich history and tradition that deserves saving," said Dr. Courtney Hollowell, a Stroger hospital surgeon.
Stroger stood with doctors and ministers at a South Side church Sunday to rally support for the increase. Outside the gathering, Cook County Commissioner Tony Paraica showed up to voice his opposition.
"It's going to affect the poorest members of Cook County. It will be a tax on the poorest member of society that cannot afford to pay the existing tax," Peraica said.
A 2 percent tax would put the sales tax at 11 percent, something that many Cook County residents and shoppers are completely against, even if it helps health care.
"I think that they could find another way to fund health care by cutting the budgets of the top level people, cut the fat at the top," said Tamekio Williams.
"I could see the reasoning, but I don't think that it's that necessary because I think that the improvement will be minimal compared to the costs that it'lll put on us as an everyday expense," William Crandall said.
"I do as little shopping as possible. So, I guess I'll probablly do less," said Gloria Thomas.
Cook County residents can expect a showdown Monday at the county board meeting. Commissioner Roberto Maldonado has accused Stroger of threatening to crack down on illegal immigrants, if the commissioner does not vote for the increase. Stroger denies any strong arm tactics.
Other commissioners believe it is unreasonable to vote for a billion dollar tax increase when Todd Stroger has yet to present a budget for next year.
- Metra delays after man hit by train on NW Side 31 min ago
- Elderly woman dead after fire in Woodstock
- Superintendent reprimanded after DUI arrest 22 min ago
- Guzman lieutenant set to plead guilty in Chicago 23 min ago
- Campaign to curb military sex assaults continues
- Body found near home of woman missing 2 years
- Man falls from Wisconsin Dells roller coaster
- Employers add 175K jobs despite harsh weather 9 min ago
- Fortune cookie turns Bronx woman into millionaire
- abcnews: Family Takes on Critics After Lung Transplant
- 7 in :77
50 min ago
- Woman stabbed after leaving Wicker Park...
6 min ago