CHICAGO – Cook County (Illinois Review) – like the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois – has a budget problem. The governments are spending more than they’re taking in. Instead of focusing on where to cut, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is focused on finding places where she can pull in more revenue.
She’s placed a recommendation for a new tax of one penny per round of rimfire, and five cents per round for centerfire cartridges. Commissioner Richard Boykin (1st District) is sponsoring the tax hike.
The proposed ammo tax is in addition to tax hikes on hotels, e-cigarettes and event ticket brokers, reportedly to close the a $22.5 million shortage in Illinois’ largest county’s 2016 $4.5 billion budget.
At least one Cook County Commissioner is adamantly opposed to the proposed tax.
Sean Morrison, who represents the 17th Cook County District, told Illinois Review over the weekend, “No, I am not for this tax, nor any tax!”
“And to be clear, I will not be voting in support of this,” Morrison said. “In fact, I have and will be actively attempting to convince my commissioner colleagues that this is a bad idea on so many levels.”
Morrison, who recently was appointed to succeed retiring commissioner Liz Gorman, said he intends to submit an amendment of his own for consideration.
It will be an amendment that will allow the county to close the $22,500,000.00 budget shortfall and balance the 2016 budget, Morrison said.
Morrison says his proposal would allow the county to move forward and make an extremely significant ‘additional payment’ of $438 million to pay down the pension fund shortage over the next four to five years by using the revenue generated by the Cook County sales tax increase.
“If the board will commit to making similar payments over the next four to five years, we can have the massive pension shortfall corrected. Combined with additional operating efficiencies we are currently putting in place will eventually allow us to use those revenue funds for other areas, but only and after we bring the pension arrears back into the black,” Morrison said.
“That, in my opinion, is a responsible fiscal budget plan.”
The Republican from southwestern Palos Park will face a stiff uphill battle to convince the Democrat-controlled board to consider his plan. He said it will take pressure from organizations and taxpayers on their county board commissioners to stay the tax hikes and consider his budget ideas.