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05/19/2010

Preckwinkle, Promises and Politics

   Toni Preckwinkle sounded a lot like Todd Stroger.  

   The fact that she didn't get anywhere near the push back speaks volumes about Cook County politics and the unfairness of many reporters who cover it.

   The Chicago Alderman defeated the incumbent Stroger and two other candidates in the democratic primary for Cook County Board President in February.  She said today that if she's elected in November, she will NOT immediately seek the roll back of the remaining half cent of the one penny increase in the county sales tax.  Preckwinkle's promise to lead an effort to eliminate the tax increase championed by Stroger was a centerpiece of her primary election campaign.

   Now, Preckwinkle says the revenue generated by the half cent will be desperately needed to help fill a projected deficit in the 2011 budget.  She claimed that county government insiders have told her the shortfall next year could range between $250 million and as much as $500 million.  The earliest Preckwinkle says that consumers should expect a rollback is 2012 and there are no guarantees it will ever happen.

   When President Stroger used virtually the same deficit projection numbers in his efforts to stop County Board rollback votes he was ridiculed by The Chicago Tribune editorial writers.  What will the newspaper, which endorsed Preckwinkle, say about her plan to retain, for the time being, what's left of the levy?

   Preckwinkle insisted that her rollback-related campaign promises were always conditioned on the state of the economy and the county's budget.   We asked the alderman if she believed, in restrospect, repealing the first half cent of the  increase was a bad move by county commissioners.

  "I think they made the best decision they could at the time", she replied as she abruptly broke through and walked away from a semi-circle of reporters.

  An unanswered question concerns why Preckwinkle would not make good on her promise to rollback the tax and use cuts to balance the 2011 budget.  The fact that she already plans to use revenue from the controversial increase appears to validate Stroger's push for it two years earlier.  

  One other note:

  I've written previously in this space about the unprofessional, unfair, "torch and pitchfork" coverage of the incumbent county board president during the past three and a half years. 

  It continues.  

  In a question to Alderman Preckwinkle, a very veteran colleague referred to recent actions taken by Stoger's administration as "shenanigans".   Another reporter repeatedly referred to the president by his first name "Todd" as opposed to using his title or last name.

  It's blatant disrespect.



Comments

Great post! The "piling on effect" is very troubling. It seems as if folks really need a punching bag.

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