Statement by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle on Passage of the FY 2016 Budget

Today, with the support of the Board of Commissioners, we successfully culminated months of work with passage of the FY 16 budget. I want to thank Chairman Daley and the commissioners who stood with us in approving a budget that reflects fiscal realities while at the same time protecting key public health and public safety initiatives, and preserving essential services for our residents.

I cautioned almost exactly a year ago -- when the Board passed the FY 15 budget -- that FY 16 would be extremely difficult. And developing this budget was indeed difficult. But we managed to close a preliminary $198 million gap through a variety of expense cuts, smart management initiatives and with only modest tax and fee hikes. For this I want to credit my entire finance team, led by CFO Ivan Samstein and Budget Director Tanya Anthony, for their hard work and the long hours they have put in these past few weeks and months.

This is not an easy budget. But it is a responsible budget that tackles our needs head-on, without dodging tough decisions or kicking the can down the road.