During the past several weeks, I have received numerous letters and emails from law enforcement leaders concerning the Cook County budget debate.
The impetus for these letters is the false assertion, coupled with warnings and threats from Cook County Board President Todd Stroger and Finance Chairman John Daley, that if we do not raise taxes, the county will have to cut vital services.
These Stroger/Daley assertions are flat out false.
The fact is, these same politicians sold out law enforcement and health care last year and will do so again this year in order to protect their patronage army.
The real choice this budget season is between raising taxes to protect political patronage and not raising taxes, which will mean the county will be forced to cut waste and patronage from its budget.
Stroger and his allies claim they are unaware of any waste or of any "political hacks" within county government. These comments are insulting to the hard-working taxpayers of Cook County, who know better.
Stroger and Daley are proposing a massive nearly $1 billion tax increase to cover a fabricated $280 million budget deficit. As happens every year at budget time, county officials are creating "doomsday scenarios" in order to justify massive tax increases. This deficit amount is inaccurate, but even if it were not, why would we need almost a billion dollar tax increase to cover it?
During the past year, we have seen numerous examples of how millions in taxpayer dollars are being abused, misused or have simply gone missing.
I proposed a 2 percent cut across the board off of the 2007 budget, and not the inflated 2008 budget proposal from the Stroger administration. In these tough times, it is better that the county reduce expenditures by a reasonable amount than hit up the taxpayers for yet another unnecessary tax increase.
Cook County Board