Cook County taxpayers are making difficult decisions every day to safeguard their future in this economy. They are cutting back on spending, asking everyone to pitch in and doing more with less. They expect their government to make similar sacrifices.
I have carried this mandate with me as Cook County Board president.
On Tuesday, I submitted my second budget to the Cook County Board. This $2.94 billion budget is the toughest and most fiscally responsible in Cook County’s history. I’m keeping my commitment to roll back the 2008 sales tax increase. When that rollback is completed in 2013, taxpayers will save $400 million a year.
Less than 1 percent of this year’s budget is achieved through one-time fixes. Long-term changes, saving more than $200 million, will fill most of our deficit. That includes layoffs. When I took this job, I never imagined I would be asking more than 1,000 Cook County employees to find a new way to provide for their families. It is not a decision I take lightly or a reflection on the quality and value of these workers. Unfortunately, to ensure the long-term financial viability of this government and the critical services it provides, that is what Cook County has to do.