County Board Reduces Sales Tax by a Half-Cent

A vote earlier in the day to roll back the tax by an entire penny failed 10-6

By Susan Ball
|  Wednesday, Nov 18, 2009  |  Updated 1:29 PM CDT
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Armed with a new law that requires fewer votes to override a veto, the Cook County Board on Tuesday voted to reduce the sales tax by a half-cent.

A vote earlier in the day to roll back  the tax by an entire penny failed 10-6.

"This has really become a battle of the haves and the have nots, and there are more haves than have nots," Board President Todd Stroger said after the vote.  He's expected to veto it, but the 12 votes makes it veto-proof.

Tuesday's vote was the fourth time commissioners tried to reverse Stroger's controversial 2008 sales tax hike. 

Previous attempts to rollback the tax have failed to override his continued veto.  He maintains that reducing the tax would be detrimental to the county's health system.

But on Nov. 7, Governor Pat Quinn signed a new measure on an existing law requiring only 11, rather than 14, votes to override a veto. 

Quinn said the changed legislation "really corrects a mistake," but didn't go as far to say that he wanted the sales tax repealed, according to CBS.

But the high tax has given many of the commissioners heartburn.

Suburban Commissioner Tim Schneider led the sales tax rollback and said the tax "has to end" because retailers are suffering.

It's possible Stroger could challenge the law lowering the override threshold, in part because of unique language in the law, said Commissioner Larry Suffredin, according to the Chicago Tribune.

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