Thursday, February 28, 2008

Cook County President Todd Stroger still pushing for huge tax hike


Shopping in Chicago is going to get more expensive ~ again ~ under a plan under consideration by the Cook County Board. Already with one of the highest sales tax rates in the nation at 9.25%, County Board President Todd Stroger is still pressing for an increase in the Cook County portion of the sales tax from 0.75% to 2.0%.

This would raise the sales tax in Chicago to a hefty 10.5%.

To hear the County Commissioners squealing, each quarter percent increase would only raise $106.5-million annually, while the budget deficit in Cook County is $283-million. Poor things. Of course, now we have to listen to County President Stroger's bombardment of negative publicity screeching about how the county will be forced to cut essential services.

Cook County has been awash in tax revenues during the first half of this decade, along with federal funds pouring into the county health care system by way of a loophole in Federal funding programs for county health programs. Unfortunately, a double whammy has occurred: the economic slowdown has area residents spending less and the loophole in the Federal program is now closed. But rather than save for an economic rainy day, the size and scope of the county bureaucracy has ballooned into a massive $3.245-billion (yes - billion, with a B) empire.

Though the deal to raise the sales tax by the full 1.25% seems unlikely, commissioner Deborah Sims (D-Chicago) is all for it. "This country was built on taxes," Sims said.

If you're as fed up with the crazy tax hike fever that seems to have gripped Illinois, Chicago and Cook County politicians, please look up your County Commissioner and let him or her know what you think.