County board votes to repeal sales tax

Stroger vows to veto vote
May 5, 2009 (CHICAGO) Several members who are typically allies of President Todd Stroger took a surprise vote Tuesday to repeal last year's sales tax increase.

On Tuesday, Stroger promised to veto the tax roll back.

Just a few weeks ago, Cook County Board President Todd Stroger was ready to give back a bit of the sales tax increase. But he says he'll close hospitals and clinics if the county board repeals last year's entire 1 percent sales tax increase.

Provident Hospital on the city's South Side once again finds itself in the role of political ping-pong.

County Board President Todd Stroger says he'll close it, along with Oak Forest Hospital and all county-run health clinics, if he loses the 1 percent sales tax hike he fought to get last year.

"The rhetoric from some of the commissioners is times are tough, we shouldn't charge as much in taxes. The reality is because times are tough more people need our services," said Stroger.

"Do I believe there's room for further cuts? Yes," said John Daley (D), finance committee chair.

Not so fast, says Cook County Finance Committee Chair John Daley. Normally, he votes with Stroger but on Tuesday Daley and 11 others voted to roll back the tax increase.

"If the elected officials are opposed to it, then I believe they should come to the Board and defend the sales or a new source of revenue," said Daley.

"I think there was a tipping point. The last scandal was just one too many. People look at the massive sales tax increase paying for a government out of control," said Forrest Claypool (D), Cook County commissioner.

Commissioner Joseph Mario Moreno was among those who voted for the sales tax last year, but against it Tuesday. Why? He says it was to silence Stroger critics.

"We want to put them to task so they work as hard as we have. So they can see the reality of what it will take to shave $400 million. They don't know," said Joseph Mario Moreno (D), Cook County commissioner.

It would take an 80 percent vote of the county board to overturn Todd Stroger's promised veto.

It's unclear if they're there.

What is clear is that with a scandal still simmering, and plenty of challengers waiting in the wings preparing to pounce on President Stroger county board meetings are about to get a lot more interesting.

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