I freely admit I was wrong in supporting Todd Stroger for President of Cook County Board. I believed friends locally who told me that Todd would do a great job. I believed them when they told me Todd was good for Cook County, and cared about Cook County residents.
I was suspicious when they insisted that Todd meant well, even after he insisted on a personal elevator in the County Building downtown. I’m not going to throw in, “What was he thinking???”, to paraphrase Blago-the-Destroyer’s campaign line.
Well, here’s the rub: Cousin: Stroger ready to tax again. Thank you to our friends at the Chicago Sun-Times for that wonderful headline. What does that mean? It means that Todd’s cousin, Donna Dunnings, who “took one for the team” and accepted the powerful CFO job with Cook County at a respectable salary, then accepted a 12% pay hike, proclaimed in a speech to the City Club of Chicago, “the county has bigger problems that need even more taxes to tackle.”
Well, that’s just sweet.
“The structural deficit is real and the sales tax is by no means an answer to that,” she said.
So, the county is going to turn to “cost containment,” according to Dunnings, and turn to “other revenues” to make ends meet.
“Other revenues”??? Translation: The Cook County Board will find a new and creative way to tax all of us.
Here is one important fact to remember: Our businesses are already being choked out of the suburbs, running to Will County in the south suburbs. Do Todd Stroger or Donna Dunnings really care about that?
I know some of the logic behind Cook County’s absurd tax structure that makes it so desirable for businesses to run to other counties. Something about business owners who commute from other suburbs to help pay for the infrastructure of Cook County, or something strange like that. Thus, the equalizer.
Look, Todd, and, for that matter, the rest of the Cook County Board: Sit down and act in concert. It’s that simple. We need the Cook County Board to stop blaming each other and act, yes, as a Board. Act in the best interest of the people of Cook County. Help those of us in the suburbs retain our businesses. Stop acting as if the borders of Cook County stop at the borders of the City of Chicago. Stop the patronage politics. We can’t afford it any more. You can’t honestly expect us to believe that the best person for the position of CFO of Cook County happened to be Todd Stroger’s cousin, Donna Dunnings.
Hold each other accountable on the board. Accountability in government is good.
And the rest of us will be incredibly more circumspect in future elections. In fact, those of us who stayed home last election day might show up next time and cast our votes.
Because, yes, we were wrong.