Cook County's 2012 budget has a $300 million hole, and layoffs are "inevitable" to help close it, County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said Thursday.
"I think it will be very hard to do this budget without layoffs," Preckwinkle said, "but the magnitude of layoffs is the question, and I anticipate that we'll get great cooperation from our labor unions and that we'll be able to minimize layoffs."
Preckwinkle said she would do everything possible to prevent layoffs, calling them "the last resort."
But with personnel making up 80 percent of the budget, something needs to be done.
Preckwinkle attributed the county's projected loss to delayed collection of Cook County Hospital collection fees and reduction in sales tax, among other issues.
"I made a promise to reduce Stroger sales tax ... but it has financial consequences," she said.
She also notes that 2012 being an election year poses added expenses.
"We are in a tough spot," she adds.