Stroger vetoes sales tax rollback

Some commissioners vow to override veto
May 11, 2009 8:14:13 PM PDT
On Monday, Cook County Board President Todd Stroger vetoed the decision by commissioners to repeal the one percentage point increase. But commissioners aren't giving up.

Now they're trying to come up with enough votes to override Stroger.

County commissioners ABC7 spoke with say although they're disappointed by the veto, this is far from over. If they can get just two of the five commissioners who did not vote with them last week to come to their side, they can override the veto. And they say it is possible because two commissioners weren't even present for last week's vote.

"I hope we can override this veto next Tuesday at the meeting, and if we can't then I will fight to have this phase-out be faster than he's projecting," said Larry Suffredin, (D) Cook County Commissioner.

Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin made a vow to fight on Monday night.

His vow came after county president Todd Stroger used his veto power to block the repeal of a controversial sales tax increase that gave Cook County one of the highest tax rates in the nation.

In an exclusive interview with ABC7 political reporter Charles Thomas, Stroger said repealing the entire tax increase now would really mean dismantling the county's health system, including closing one of the major hospitals, Provident or Oak Forest.

"We know that more people need our services and that if we pull back now there will just be a lot of people without any healthcare whatsoever," said Todd Stroger, Cook Co. Board president.

But on Monday night, Republican Commissioner Tony Peraica says that is simply not true and Todd Stroger knows it.

"They are now coming out with scare tactics saying the hospitals are going to close, the clinics are going to close, prisoners are going to be walking the streets...these are just lies?lies to justify the unjustifiable," said Tony Peraica, (R) Cook County commissioner.

Peraica was one of several sponsors in favor of repealing the entire 1 percent sales tax increase right now. If they're unable to get two more votes to override the veto, there is another plan already in the works. It would roll back a quarter of a percent every year for the next four years.

Larry Sufferdin is one of the sponsors.

"It at this time has become the symbol of bad government and it has become the symbol of bad economic policy for Cook County," said Sufferdin.

At least part of Larry Suffredin's plan is something Todd stroger could support. He has said that he supports a roll back of a quarter of 1 percent. But Stroger says anything more than that would depend on the economy improving.

Next Tuesday's vote should be very interesting -- they need 14 of 17 to override, and it's never been done before.


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