October 28, 2013
The Civic Federation supports Cook County’s proposed FY2014 operating budget of $3.2 billion for holding the property tax levy relatively flat, reducing expenditures and aggressively pursuing new revenue for the Cook County Health and Hospitals System under the federal Affordable Care Act. The administration continues to stabilize the County budget without increasing the property tax burden on County taxpayers by showing admirable restraint and forward thinking.
Although the County has taken significant steps in the past two years to reduce its deficit, the County’s shortfall is projected to rise in coming years due to increased healthcare costs, declining operating revenues and uncertainty at the Health System. The Civic Federation recommends a long-term comprehensive financial planning process that addresses key cost drivers, increases the efficiency of service delivery and stabilizes rising pension obligations. The County’s pension fund has dropped from 69.1% funded in FY2003 to 55.1% in FY2012, and the Federation continues to urge the County to work with the Illinois General Assembly to develop and implement comprehensive pension reform tailored to the needs of the County fund.
Cook County’s Fiscal Year 2014 begins on December 1, 2013 and ends on November 30, 2014.