Chicagoland Chamber President Testifies on County's Budget Proposal

Encourages progress to rollback county sales tax

Nov 03, 2011, 14:00 ET from Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce

CHICAGO, Nov. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce commended President Toni Preckwinkle on Budget during the Cook County's Finance Committee public hearing, for presenting a budget that closes a $315 million gap without raising property and actually reduces sales taxes. The Chicagoland Chamber and its members see many of the budget's measures as an important step to fixing the structural imbalance of the county's finances.

"The fact that this proposed budget is less than last year's budget sends a signal to taxpayers that Cook County government is serious about getting its fiscal house in order," said Roper, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce president and CEO.

Additionally, the Chamber applauded the President for following through with her commitment to include the .25 percent sales tax rollback in the budget. "The sales tax rollback will help alleviate the damage done when the one percent point increase was adopted back in 2008," Mr. Roper said. "A bounce back (in retail sales) occurred after the partial rollback went into effect."

When enacted, the one percent "Stroger sales tax," moved Cook County's sales tax rate two percentage points higher than the sales tax rates for the neighboring collar counties as well as giving Cook County the dubious distinction as the highest sales tax in the nation. A recent study presented by DePaul's Chaddick Institute showed that Cook County was outperforming the region in sales just prior to the sales tax increase, but dropped well below the region immediately after the increase. Since the partial rollback, Cook County has gained on its neighbors in economic indicators, but remains unstable in the current fragile economic environment. The Chamber firmly believes completing the rollback will solidify the county's economic position to increase retail sales and create jobs.

Mr. Roper did caution the County Board on some of the proposed tax and fee increases, including the alcohol sales tax, but remained overall in support of the budget with the sales tax rollback. "While there are plenty of sacrifices and tough choices to be made in this budget, including some tax and fee increases, we believe it is the step in the right direction that will get Cook County's financial house in order."

About The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Founded in 1904, we are a private, non-profit business assistance and economic development organization. With 2,600 members, representing over 1.3 million individual employees in the six-county Northeastern Illinois region (Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry & Will), we are the largest Chamber of Commerce in Illinois and one of the largest in the nation. Our mission is to make Chicagoland the most business-friendly region in America and to enhance our members' success through aggressive advocacy, member benefits, services, and actionable information.


Chris Johnson


(312) 494-6727


SOURCE Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce