Yes, you heard me. Instead of busting the unions, there is a way to balance your budget without alienating the very people who work for you. When Toni Preckwinkle took office, she had a $487 million dollar deficit. Yep, I think that’s more than Wisconsin’s as a state. We also have the highest sales tax in the country. Not county — in the entire United States. However, this is how Toni Preckwinkle is fixing this without ruining Cook County Illinois and without making the unions obsolete. This took place in a 19 hour meeting where they worked with the unions — not against them.
1. Thousands of county workers (about 23,000) will take 10 unpaid days off this year. As a result, 550 fewer layoffs. (About 750 layoffs are still expected). 5 of those will be unpaid selected by the workers themselves. The others would be on county “shutdown days”.
2. The commissioners will ALSO take 10 unpaid days off. This is called sharing the pain. This amounts to a 3.8% pay cut.
3. Preckwinkle herself is taking a 10% pay cut.
4. Spending cuts.
5. Department consolidations.
6. Collection of unpaid taxes.
7. Some fee increases.
8. The tapping of some surplus funds.
I keep hearing from people that busting the unions is the only way to balance the budget. Well, Toni Preckwinkle has shown you differently. This is how you get it done! (And let me add that she also dropped the sales tax a quarter of a percent so that’s even less money coming into Cook County). Oh yeah, she’s only been in office a little over 100 days!