Now we’re finding out what it means to have a mayor from the North Shore and a county board president from Hyde Park. It means big job cuts.
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle will announce next week that she’s planning to lay off 1,000 county employees, to help close a $315 million budget gap. According to the Tribune:
The nearly 1,000 layoffs projected in Preckwinkle’s recommended budget are in part due to the county's unions rejecting her recent offer to take eight unpaid days off next year in order to save 500 jobs. Preckwinkle called the unions' rejection a “significant contributor” to the number of layoffs.
Emanuel threatened to lay off 625 workers after unions wouldn’t agree to his proposed work changes but so far has only fired 165.
Would Richard M. Daley or Todd Stroger have fired so many workers? Doubtful. Daley and Stroger were Machine politicians who believed that providing employment is an essential function of government. In 2009, Daley threatened to lay off 1,500 workers but found the money to pay them by spending most of the $1.15 billion from the parking meter deal. Stroger raised the sales tax to avoid cutting payroll.
Preckwinkle and Emanuel aren’t part of that political tradition. In the wealthy neighborhoods they come from, nobody needs a government job.
When Richard J. Daley was mayor, the only politicians unafraid to stand up to him were 5th Ward Ald. Leon Despres and New Trier Township Committeeman Lynn Williams. Because patronage meant nothing to their constituents. Their constituents did pay a lot of taxes, however, and they didn’t like the city and the county spending their money to hire politically connected plumbers. This is a philosophy known as “good government.”
As long as these two are in charge, we’re going to have cuts in jobs and services before we have tax increases.
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