Tag: Cook County Board of Commissioners

Boykin Faces Two Challengers for Commissioner’s Seat

Wednesday, November 15, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: Brandon Johnson, left, who along with Bertha Pernell (not pictured), plan to challenge Commissioner Richard Boykin, right, in the Democratic Primary race. 

Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (1st), whose district encompasses all or parts of Bellwood, Broadview and Maywood, is up against two declared challengers in the Democratic Primary race for his seat on the Board of Commissioners.

Continue reading “Boykin Faces Two Challengers for Commissioner’s Seat”

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County Must Make Up for $200M Budget Hole, Says Commissioner

Monday, November 13, 2017 || By Igor Studenkov || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: A chart breaking down the county’s FY 2018 operating budget by office, released by the office of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. | Cook County 

During a Nov. 7 town hall he organized in Chicago, Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (1st), whose district includes all or parts of Bellwood, Broadview and Maywood, presented an outline of the county’s budget.

Continue reading “County Must Make Up for $200M Budget Hole, Says Commissioner”

With Soda Tax Canned, Area Business Owners Hope Customers, Revenue Return

Wednesday, October 11, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: Mike Nutley, one of the owners of Ed’s Way in Forest Park, inside of his store earlier this summer. | Wednesday Journal File

The Cook County Board of Commissioners voted 15-1 on Wednesday to repeal the deeply unpopular sweetened beverage tax, which tacked on an additional penny per ounce onto certain sugary drinks. The roll back goes into effect on Dec. 1.

Continue reading “With Soda Tax Canned, Area Business Owners Hope Customers, Revenue Return”

County Commissioners Push for Repealing Sugary Drink Tax

Friday, August 11, 2017 || By Bob Skolnik/Wednesday Journal || @maywoodnews || Photo: Getty Images 

Five Cook County Commissioners announced on Aug. 9 that they will support an ordinance to repeal the controversial Cook County penny-an-ounce tax on pre-sweetened beverages.

Commissioners Richard Boykin (D-1st), Sean Morrison (R-17th) and Tim Schneider (R-15th) appeared at a press conference Aug. 9 at the County Building to announce their move to repeal the tax.

Continue reading “County Commissioners Push for Repealing Sugary Drink Tax”

Boykin Considering Run for Board President

Tuesday, August 8, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (1st), whose district includes Bellwood, Broadview and Maywood, said in an interview last week that he’s considering a run to replace Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle — who is currently dealing with the fallout from an unpopular sweetened beverage tax, deep budget cuts and mass layoffs.

“President Preckwinkle has taken us as far as she can take us,” Boykin said. “She’s damaged the county in a real way. She’s done as much as she can do. … I expect that this whole beverage tax, the incompetent way it’s been rolled out and the unfairness of it will hurt her. It will damage her [politically].”

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County Judge Dismisses Sugary Drink Beverage Lawsuit

Monday, July 31, 2017 || By Thomas Vogel/Forest Park Review || @maywoodnews

A Cook County judge on July 28 dismissed a lawsuit brought by the Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA) aimed at stopping a one-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary beverages.

The tax will go into effect on Aug. 2, according to a press release from Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

The ruling, announced last Friday afternoon, comes about a month after the new tax, passed in November 2016, was to be implemented. Friday’s decision is the latest twist in a weeks-long legal battle.

Continue reading “County Judge Dismisses Sugary Drink Beverage Lawsuit”

Op-Ed: How to Balance Cook County’s Budget Without Dangerous Layoffs or Soda Tax

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Boykin_SeptemberWednesday, July 26, 2017 || By Richard Boykin || OPINION || @maywoodnews

Cook County government headed into Fiscal Year 2017 expecting to balance its budget in part with $68 million in revenue generated by the sweetened beverage tax that narrowly passed the Cook County Board last fall.

This $68 million can no longer be counted on, due to a lawsuit filed by the Illinois Retail Merchants Association. As part of the initial phase of that lawsuit, a judge has granted a temporary restraining order that prevents the county from imposing the sweetened beverage tax.

From the moment it was first proposed, the sweetened beverage tax was based on a dishonest premise. Board President Toni Preckwinkle tried to sell it to commissioners and residents as a public health initiative, aimed at reducing obesity.

In fact, the tax was never about health — it was always about revenue. Taxpayers saw through the public health charade from the beginning. Now the Cook County Circuit Court has also seen through the charade.

As a result, President Preckwinkle presently confronts a fiscal crisis that she herself manufactured.

Unfortunately, rather than deal with the crisis collaboratively, with an eye toward maintaining essential public safety services during a time when we face severe levels of gun violence in the county, President Preckwinkle has once again yoked herself and the county to a false premise.

The board president now insists that without the sweetened beverage tax, the county must make sweeping, disastrous cuts to essential public safety services. These across-the-board cuts impact services we can ill afford to lose amid rampant shootings in poor communities of color.

However, just as her assertion that the sweetened beverage tax was motivated by public health turned out to be a false justification designed to push through a revenue grab, President Preckwinkle’s current insistence on these painful cuts presents the judiciary with another false choice designed to intimidate.

Allow the tax, she is saying, or I will withhold services from the communities that need them the most. And absent those services, those communities will almost certainly see more pain, more violence, more senseless death.

These disingenuous strong-arm tactics got us into this mess. They will not get us out of it.

Instead, President Preckwinkle should reverse course and do the following:

1. Ask Chairman John Daley to convene an ongoing, emergency meeting of his County Board Finance Committee. Do not adjourn the meeting until key areas of waste in county government have been identified for immediate spending freezes and reductions. We know from previous budget hearings where the fat is. It’s long past time that we trim it. Immediate areas of opportunity include procurement, litigation and overtime.

2. Institute an immediate, countywide hiring freeze, exempting those positions that are court-ordered.

3. Immediately eliminate the 1,500 positions in the county budget that are vacant. I estimate this action itself would save $70 million.

4. After the above three actions are taken, President Preckwinkle should call a special meeting of the Board of Commissioners in August to consider enacting an emergency package of reductions that accomplish meaningful savings while continuing to provide vital services.

President Preckwinkle would have us believe that the above course of action is impossible. It is not.

Cook County never needed a sweetened beverage tax to operate with both efficiency and compassion. Now that we do not have that tax for the foreseeable future, we have another opportunity to achieve meaningful reforms while protecting our most vulnerable citizens.

It is time for President Preckwinkle to abandon her bullying tactics and work with others to solve these long-standing problems.

Richard Boykin is the 1st District Cook County commissioner.

To submit your perspective, email thevillagefreepress@gmail.com.