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PALOS TOWNSHIP PROPERTY TAX ASSISTANCE WORKSHOP: AUGUST 3
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A 66% tax increase to Cook County’s special use gasoline and fuel tax has been proposed by Commissioner Richard Boykin. This proposed tax increase has been earmarked to fund several new, yet vaguely defined, county government programs. Not only is the 66% gas tax increase questionable, but there are also questions about the new programs that appear to be expanding the size of government by duplicating programs and overlapping services that already exist.
In my view, attempting to impose a tax increase at this time would be circumventing the importance of the county’s budget process. A budget hearing is the proper forum to testify and debate the merits of a tax increase, especially one that specifically expands the size and costs of running county government.
When consolidation of services is being examined at all levels of government, I believe it is best practices to first thoroughly analyze the efficiency of all existing programs and services already provided by Cook County government.
Yes, there are very serious issues of crime and unemployment that plague certain areas of our community and yes, we must make every attempt to properly tackle those issues. But, it would be most effective to do it in a comprehensive approach, not piecemeal.
The county board has been asked to approve this tax increase along with the creation of new programs at a time when Cook County government is faced with serious fiscal challenges. We must be prudent in our allocation of tax dollars and that is why I look forward to working with my colleagues to closely analyze the effectiveness of our existing programs so that they are providing the very best services to address the needs of our constituents.
Sean M. Morrison
Cook County Commissioner
A Cook County ordinance has been proposed to create a “Youth Employment Special Fund”. The sponsors of this proposal intend to fund this program by taking from property owners a five percent (5%) reduction in an economic tax incentive benefit; incentives that provide economic stimulus.
The county board has been asked to approve an extremely vague two paragraph proposal which provides no specific details on funding accountability or program implementation. The most fundamental questions have not been addressed: What is the structural framework of this program and how will it be implemented? Who would have oversight of these funds? Has a specific cost been identified for this program?
Cook County could potentially spend millions of tax dollars on a youth employment program that does not yet exist on paper. A “trust us, we’ll figure it out later” strategy is irresponsible.
With no specific details to be considered, this proposal has the potential to appear as a slush fund. And after watching Governor Pat Quinn’s NRI program (similar in nature) come under federal investigation in 2014, I cannot support legislation that does not outline its fiscal policies and oversight measures in a very transparent and detailed manner. Though well intended, vague generalities do not always serve the best purpose nor does it instill confidence in our constituents, the taxpayers.
At a time when Cook County is faced with serious fiscal issues, we must be prudent in our allocation of tax dollars and that is why I look forward to continue working with my colleagues to create the appropriate fiscal policies and oversight measures for the betterment of Cook County government.
Sean M. Morrison
Cook County Commissioner
Orland Park, IL – Commissioner Sean M. Morrison, in cooperation with the Orland Fire Protection District and Kaléo, Inc., has secured a grant of naloxone to supply Cook County Police Departments, free of charge, with the opioid antagonist, Evzio®. Under the agreement, Kaléo, Inc. is donating 12,000 Evzio® (Naloxone) kits to the office of Commissioner Morrison for distribution to police departments. All Police Departments within Cook County, including municipal, county and college/campus police will be eligible to receive a portion of the grant based on need.
Commissioner Morrison created the “Cook County Overdose Prevention Program”, working with the Orland Fire Protection District and other area police and fire agencies. The Orland Fire Protection District will provide training and certification to police departments who apply to receive Evzio® as well as maintaining records, data and inventory for the program.
“We’ve seen a frightening surge in heroin overdoses throughout Cook County. This exceptional grant opportunity will provide law enforcement with a life-saving tool, at no cost, to be carried and administered on the front lines where minutes and even seconds are critical to saving lives,” said Commissioner Morrison.
The vast majority of overdoses are accidental and result from taking inappropriate doses of opioids or mixing opioid drugs with other substances. These drug overdoses typically take over 45 minutes to turn fatal, but can happen much sooner depending on route and dose. So the ability to reduce the time between the onset of symptoms of an overdose and effective intervention is a matter of life and death.
Law enforcement officers have always been on the front lines of the battle against drug related harm in their communities. Police usually have a quicker response to an overdose incident than EMS providers, for the mere fact they are already on the street. This creates a critical window of opportunity for lifesaving intervention with appropriate assistance, which includes the administration of the antidote naloxone, which quickly and effectively reverses the overdose effect.
Under a new state law that took effect on January 1, 2016, police departments throughout the State of Illinois are required to carry an opioid antagonist in an effort to reduce the number of overdose deaths in our communities. To participate, police departments were mailed an application or asked to visit the online version found on Commissioner Morrison’s website at: www.seanmorrison.com/evzio.
Chicago, IL – Cook County Commissioner Sean M. Morrison and the Cook County Board of Commissioners honored Orland Park native Michael Schofield of the Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos at Wednesday’s board meeting. Commissioner Morrison sponsored a resolution honoring Schofield’s Super Bowl achievement.
Michael Schofield, a native of Orland Park, began playing football in the sixth grade where he played for the Orland Park Pioneers. He continued on at Carl Sandburg High School where as a sophomore, he became a lineman and as a senior he was a special mention 2008 Chicago Tribune All-State selection.
Michael was recruited by and committed to play at the University of Michigan where he played all 52 possible games. He earned 2013 All-Big Ten Conference Honorable Mention. His superb career at the University of Michigan, led to being drafted on Day 2 of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos as the 95th overall selection in the third round.
In his second year as a professional NFL player, Michael became the starting right tackle for the Denver Broncos and admittedly had a lot to learn but saved his best performances for the postseason where he once again excelled in his position. On February 7, 2016, the Denver Broncos won Super Bowl 50 by defeating the Carolina Panthers 24 – 10.
Michael had his own cheering section at the Super Bowl which included his father Chief Mike Schofield of the Orland Fire Protection District; Mom, Kathy; siblings, Nicole, Stephanie, Kathleen, Jacqueline and Andrew; as well as his girlfriend, Kendall Coyne, a member of the U. S. Women’s Hockey Team in the 2014 Olympics.
Knowing the importance of maintaining a healthy body and also knowing the dangers of abusing one’s body, Michael has made it a priority since his college days and now as a professional athlete to speak against drug abuse and making young people aware of those dangers.
“I’m very proud to honor Michael Schofield of Orland Park. His commitment to athletic excellence as well as his commitment to proper physical excellence is a great example for today’s youth. Because of his incredible work ethic and devotion to excelling at his craft he’s now a Super Bowl Champion,” stated Commissioner Morrison.
By: Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz
A new law that aims to curb the area’s dismal youth unemployment rate gives companies vying for Cook County contracts a leg up if they hire teens.
The ordinance, which the Cook County Board approved last week, gives companies bid credits if a substantial amount of work on a project is performed by youth aged 16 to 19.
Bidders for county contracts get a 0.5 percent credit to apply to a future contract bid if teens perform more than 10 percent of the labor hours on a county project with a value of at least $100,000, and a 0.25 percent credit if teens perform 1 to 10 percent of the labor hours.
So, for example, a company with a $1 million bid on a county project would appear on paper to have a $950,000 bid with the youth credit, helping it undercut the competition. The credit would be used for evaluation purposes only and not affect the actual price of the project. A credit can be used only once to nail the lowest bid, with the intention that companies will continue to employ youth to accrue more credits.
“The purpose is to (offer an incentive to) people as they put together their employment plan,” said Commissioner Bridget Gainer, D-Chicago, who co-sponsored the legislation with Sean Morrison, R-Palos Park.
Such bid incentives already exist for companies that hire military veterans and people who have been convicted of crimes.
A dramatic decline in employment among young people has led to concerns that a generation is not getting the early work experience that research has shown leads to better jobs and higher wages down the road.
The employment rate among 16- to 19-year-olds in Cook County was 20.4 percent in 2014, down from 27.5 percent in 2005, and nearly 10 percentage points lower than the national average, according to a March report prepared for the county by the Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The recession took a particularly hard toll on youth, who had to compete for entry-level positions with older and more experienced workers who lost their jobs, and they have seen little recovery.
In Cook County, the rate of youth who are both out of work and out of school has been particularly startling, especially when broken down by race. More than 12 percent of black 16- to 19-year-olds are neither in school nor working, compared with 8.9 percent of Hispanics and 5.6 percent of whites, according to the Great Cities Institute report. Among 20- to 24-year-olds, nearly 40 percent of blacks are out of school and out of work, compared with nearly 15 percent of Hispanics and 8 percent of whites.
The Cook County bid incentive applies only to 16- to 19-year-olds in order to follow established definitions of youth in state workforce programs, Gainer said. It does not require companies to hire youth from certain income brackets or racial groups.
While construction contractors are often in line for county projects, Gainer said “the sky’s the limit” for the types of jobs youth can fill, including custodial and landscaping. She pointed to the board’s approval last week of a $100 million construction agreement for renovation of the county hospital system. Because hospital revenues depend on people renewing their Medicare eligibility, young people could be hired to do community outreach.
“Sometimes we assume a job will require a college degree,” Gainer said. “Have you asked yourself why? Is it really an issue, or just habit?”
Employers will have to verify workers’ age via their birth certificates, track their hours and submit the information to the county with an affidavit, Gainer said.
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