News from President Toni Preckwinkle

Budget Director Andrea Gibson Talks Revenue Increases, Spending Cuts in Speech to City Club of Chicago

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Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is considering a combination of targeted tax and fee hikes along with cutting costs to bridge what’s expected to be a $115 million budget shortfall next year.

But a property tax increase remains off the table, and Preckwinkle plans to push ahead with plans to eliminate the last quarter of the 1 percentage-point sales tax increase enacted under predecessor Todd Stroger.

That was the picture painted Tuesday by county Budget Director Andrea Gibson, who spoke to about 125 people at a City Club of Chicago luncheon.

“We are considering some limited revenue initiatives to include in the 2013 budget,” said Gibson, who declined to detail which taxes might be raised. “The focus of any revenue initiatives will be to close loopholes, incentivize behavior, advance policy or recoup user fees.”

The county also will likely leave vacant positions unfilled, reduce employee health care costs and lower vehicle expenses by having employees share county vehicles, Gibson said.

The county’s financial picture is better than expected, due in part to the expected benefits of President Barack Obama’s national health care plan. The county expects the federal government to allow early enrollment of uninsured poor patients on Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act, which will mean tens of millions of new dollars in revenue, Gibson said…

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