Cook County, Illinois, is looking at another huge budget deficit for the coming fiscal year. Communications Staff over at the County’s official blog wrote on June 27:
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle today released the preliminary budget for Fiscal Year 2014 which projected a $152.1 million deficit.
The County is also projecting a year end shortfall of $18 million in 2013.
The fiscal year comes to an end on November 30 in the second-most populous county in the United States (after Los Angeles County, California).
It remains to be seen how Cook County plans to make up the projected budget shortfall in FY 2014, but President Preckwinkle thinks property and sales taxes can be ruled out. The Cook County Blog quoted her as saying:
I am confident we will be able to make the tough decisions necessary to balance the budget without raising property or sales taxes.
Bill Ruthhart reported on the Chicago Tribune website on June 27:
The Democrat from Hyde Park declined to discuss what specific tax and fee increases are under consideration this time.
“We’re trying to put everything on the table,” she said. “We have to close a $152 million gap in an environment where we’ve already picked all the low-hanging fruit, so we’re going to have tough choices ahead of us.”
Last year, Preckwinkle’s budget included a $1-per-pack cigarette tax increase, a $25 tax on new gun sales, a 1.25 percent use tax on out-of-county purchases of more than $3,500, a $1,000-a-year tax on slot machines and a $200-a-year tax on video gambling terminals. All told, those were expected to raise about $41.7 million in a $2.95 billion budget.
“We’ve already picked all the low-hanging fruit.”
Cook County residents and businesses should prepare themselves for new/higher fees and taxes going forward.
You can view the preliminary budget on the County’s blog here.
By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)
Ruthhart, Bill. “Cook County budget gap $152 million for next year.” Chicago Tribune. 27 June 2013. (http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-06-27/news/chi-cook-county-budget-gap-152-million-for-next-year-20130627_1_cook-county-budget-gap-sales-tax-increase-county-jail). 1 July 2013.
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