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Cook County Board President Todd Stroger said he would issue a veto Friday opposing a resolution passed Tuesday by county commissioners to partially roll back the 1.75 percent sales tax, a penny of which went into effect last summer.

Cook County Board President Todd Stroger said he would issue a veto Friday opposing a resolution passed Tuesday by county commissioners to partially roll back the 1.75 percent sales tax, a penny of which went into effect last summer. “I plan to veto this measure because it is no longer feasible for the county to rollback any portion of the sales tax,” Stroger told the Defender. “For example, next year we have $104 million in pension obligations to meet.” Stroger said that the state’s budget problems have compounded the county’s fiscal challenges. “About $13 million may be held back from the state due to its budget shortfalls, so now is not the time to be cutting revenue,” he said. Cook County Commissioner Jerry Butler, D-3rd Dist., agrees. “I am against it. I have always been against rolling back the sales tax,” Butler said. “A rollback will do more damage than good.” Butler warned that if commissioners were successful at getting the partial rollback layoffs would be needed to help shore up the lost revenue. Stroger said health care would be crippled because about 90 percent of its budget goes to fund health care and public safety. Previously, Stroger said if the county had to roll back the sales tax it stood to lose over $100 million a year. And to help make up for the loss, he would be forced to close Provident Hospital on the South Side and south suburban Oak Forest Hospital along with all county health clinics. The rollback means the county sales tax would go from 1.75 percent to 1.25 percent beginning Jan. 1, 2010. That also means Chicago’s overall sales tax of 10.25 percent, the highest in the nation, would drop to 9.75 percent. The city’s current sales tax distribution formula is 6.25 percent to the state, 1.75 percent to Cook County, 1.25 percent to Chicago and 1 percent to the RTA. ______ Copyright 2009 Chicago Defender. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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