Commissioner Sean Morrison opposes new 2020 budget for Cook County

Commissioner Sean Morrison opposes new 2020 budget for Cook County
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Commissioner Sean Morrison opposes new 2020 budget for Cook County

The Cook County Board of Commissioners voted on Friday (Nov. 22, 2019) to approve the FY2020 Cook County Budget presented by President Toni Preckwinkle on a vote of 15-1. The lone vote of opposition was cast by Commissioner Sean Morrison from the suburban 17th District.

Cook County’s newly passed $6.18 Billion FY2020 Budget is a $240 Million increase from the previous FY2019 Budget of $5.94 Billion. With $7.8 Billion in unfunded pension liabilities, Commissioner Morrison would have preferred to see President Preckwinkle hold the size of government for 2020 and apply the $240 Million to Cook County’s legacy pension debt – permanently reducing that portion of debt for Cook County taxpayers.

Further fiscal analysis shows that even though Cook County has seen a decline of Full Time Equivalent (FTE) employees, which has dropped by 14% since 2010, the overall amount paid to remaining employees has increased substantially from $2.15 Billion in FY2011 to $3.0 Billion for FY2020 – a 39.5% increase representing $850 Million more annually on wages.

Cook County Commissioner Sean Morrison leads coalition to repeal repressive Preckwinkle tax on sweetened drinks and soda pop Aug. 9, 2017. Photo courtesy of Commissioner Sean Morrison

Cook County Commissioner Sean Morrison. Aug. 9, 2017. Photo courtesy of Commissioner Sean Morrison

In addition, and more significantly, Cook County’s overall operating budget has more than doubled from $3.055 Billion in FY2011 to $6.18 Billion in FY2020 – up 102%. “This rate of growth in spending is not sustainable for the long-term fiscal health of our county. It is not fair to Cook County taxpayers. We can do better and we should strive to do better,” stated Commissioner Morrison.

Commissioner Morrison also expressed particular concern for the long-term fiscal condition of the Cook County Health & Hospital System. Cook County was faced with several issues this past year surrounding the system’s financial health which were exposed in a bombshell report by the Inspector General.

“The 2020 Budget continues to grow both the size and scope of county government and does not do enough to reduce the county’s unfunded pension obligations and other legacy debt obligations. As a result, I cannot support this budget,” Morrison concluded.

Ray Hanania

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