Unless a controversial new Cook County tax on sugary beverages is reinstituted, all county agencies will be expected to make serious spending cuts, several agency heads say.
According to the Chicago Tribune and other outlets, all county agency heads received a letter from Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle that they would need to slash their budgets by 10 percent before Aug. 1 if the soda tax, currently blocked by restraining order, is not reinstated.
The new tax, which was set to take effect July 1, would have raised $67.5 million in new revenue for the county by Nov. 30, according to county estimates.
The next hearing on the tax is scheduled for July 12, but with that money off the table for now, county agencies are preparing for spending cuts that would include massive lay-offs.
According to a memo sent out by Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, as many as 925 employees of the department could be laid off as a result of spending cuts.
“The proposed layoffs amounted to approximately 17 percent of our work force,” Dart said.
Meanwhile, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office is looking at drastic cuts as well. State’s Attorney Kim Foxx told CBS that she expects that she would have to lay off at least 100 prosecutors and dozens of administrative staffers if the revenue from the soda tax isn’t replaced.
Up to 2600 county employees could be laid off if the tax is not back in effect by December, according to reports.