Todd Stroger is Confused About Taxes

First, Cook County Board President Todd Stroger wanted to cut taxes.  That big announcement was made around tax day 2009:

Less than a year before he seeks re-election, Cook County Board President Todd Stroger today asked commissioners to roll back part of the major sales tax increase he pushed through last year.

Under the proposal, the county’s sales tax rate would drop from 1.75 percent to 1.5 percent. At a a news conference, Stroger said federal stimulus package dollars would make it possible.

Pressed to explain how exactly stimulus dollars would replace sales tax revenue, Stroger replied that he had “no hard numbers” because the county continues discussions with federal officials.

Given Stroger’s inability to focus or clearly explain his positions, it was not surprising that Stroger had “no hard numbers.”  Much like the U.S. Senate Republican’s 2009 budget proposal — which essentially was a glorified coloring book — Stroger’s budget proposals have been erratic.

Forward one month:

Cook County Board President Todd Stroger has vetoed a 12-3 vote of the County Board to repeal his beloved sales-tax increase. Deep down, he says, he supports killing the full tax increase. But not now, and not even on a set schedule. No, he wants to roll back the tax “as funds become available.”

Right.  So that federal stimulus package that was supposed to save the day doesn’t count.

The Trib has a plan:

We figure the 12 board members who voted to kill the tax increase will vote to override. Similarly, the three who previously voted to keep the increase in place — Jerry “Iceman” Butler, William Beavers and Robert Steele — probably will vote against an override.

So Stroger’s veto brings tremendous pressure on the two members who missed that 12-3 vote. Either can be the fourth vote he needs. And both may have Democratic challengers in February’s Illinois primary precisely because of their past support for Stroger’s tax policies.

Surely they would appreciate your guidance on whether to let Stroger keep collecting his tax increase. Earlean Collins represents Chicago’s West Side and some west suburbs. Her telephone numbers are 312-603-4566 and 773-626-2184. Deborah Sims represents parts of the South Side and south suburbs. Her numbers are 312-603-6381 and 708-371-4251.

Readers, start dialing.

That’s a good plan.

Look, I know I’m naive.  I don’t get it.  I should better understand why Commissioner Deborah Sims is so loyal to Stroger in the first place — but I don’t.

The Cook County Board needs to grow some and override the veto.  Make your calls.