President Toni Preckwinkle Releases FY23 Executive Budget Recommendation
(COOK COUNTY, IL) — Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle on Thursday unveiled a proposed $8.75 billion Executive Budget Recommendation for Fiscal Year 2023, which includes millions in funding for equity programs and pandemic relief without increasing taxes or cutting essential services.
“Over the last several years, Cook County has encountered no shortage of challenges. Despite a pandemic, global economic turmoil and rising inflation, the fiscal condition of Cook County is strong. I am incredibly proud of what we have done to weather these storms, confront these obstacles, increase equity and turn adversity into opportunity,” said President Preckwinkle. “From investing in our future and addressing the pandemic to creating a more equitable county and encouraging fiscal responsibility, I believe this is a thoughtful budget that does a great deal of good for our residents.”
Preckwinkle noted that the County was able to close a $18.2 million budget gap, the lowest gap in her tenure as President, without the need for raising new taxes. In fact, Cook County recently voted to eliminate its Wheel Tax. Higher than previously forecasted revenue figures, including a $124 million year-over-year increase in sales tax revenues, helped balance this budget without the need for additional taxes.
In the coming year, with an equity lens at the core of the decision-making process, Cook County will continue implementation of critical projects funded in FY2023 with nearly a quarter of the billion dollars from its American Rescue Plan Act allocation from the U.S. Treasury Department.
Preckwinkle provided a snapshot of some of the many programs that are moving forward in this budget and future years using federal relief funding:
- $42 million for a guaranteed income pilot to administer $500 dollars per month for two years to 3,250 households in Cook County.
- Partnering with RIP Medical Debt, a national nonprofit that has erased debt for more than 3.6 million individuals and families so far. With just $12 million of federal funds, this program has the potential to negotiate the purchase of up to $1 billion in medical debt for Cook County residents and cancel it.
- $170 million over the next three years to Cook County Health. This will go toward a range of health initiatives, especially for those populations disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. This includes two collaborations with other agencies – the Office of the Chief Judge on a juvenile justice grant program and the Housing Authority of Cook County on a behavioral health initiative.
- $14.1 million dollars in federal funding to expand the County’s homeless response system for Cook County Health patients.
- $71 million investment in small businesses, which will provide more than 7,000 businesses with $10,000 grants in a range of business support areas.
- $20 million dollars in the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago for the Stormwater Management Program.
- $10 million initiative for the Neighborhood Revitalization Brownfield Remediation program to assess and remediate contaminated brownfield sites in suburban Cook County.
- $20 million dollar project to improve infrastructure and provide critical capital upgrades to municipalities across Cook County. Cook County will provide the highest-need communities with our knowledge and expertise in capital projects, areas of procurement and project management.
Through its Equity Fund, the County will also be investing over $70 million this year and next to create safe, healthy and thriving communities in Cook County. Initiatives supported by the Equity Fund aim to reimagine and transform systems around justice, public safety, health, housing, economic opportunity, community development and social services to benefit Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities and proactively invest resources in solutions and support to achieve equitable outcomes.
Preckwinkle also called attention to the fact that Cook County has provided supplemental pension payments of over $2 billion dollars above the required contribution since 2016, significantly reducing the unfunded pension liability and allowing the Cook County Pension Fund to keep its assets invested and take advantage of good market performance.
“Through judicious financial management, we are working to create a better tomorrow that isn’t at the expense of today,” said Preckwinkle. “In the face of multiple economic risks, Cook County has had its bond rating upgraded, continued making supplemental pension payments to put the County’s pension fund on a path toward sustainability and built up a manageable reserve fund. We have accomplished this and developed hundreds of millions of dollars in equity programs and pandemic relief initiatives all while putting forward balanced budgets with no increases to existing taxes.”
Preckwinkle additionally highlighted several important items and investments in the budget that will be moving forward in the coming year:
- Additional personnel resources to implement the recommendations established by the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Pre-Trial Practices
- Short-term funding to offset Land Bank operating expenditures as they work to redevelop properties in disinvested communities throughout Cook County
- Continued investment in technology to modernize and integrate the Property Tax Offices’ software systems and funding to support Cook County Property Tax Bridge Fund
All FY2023 budget information is now posted to the Cook County website, allowing the public to review documents and engage with the President’s Office directly. An interactive budget website is also available providing historic financial data and detailed budget information. This immersive budget portal will enhance access and understanding of budget information and County finances. Starting today, residents can also now submit budget questions here.
Download the Budget at Glance document here.
Read President Preckwinkle's full budget address here.