Stroger's Teeny Tiny Tax Rollback

County rate still among nation's highest

Todd Stroger wants to roll back the county's portion of the sales tax you pay by a quarter of a penny on the dollar.

Stroger's office announced the rollback proposal in a news release Wednesday. This would be a reduction in county sales taxes from 1.75 percent to 1.5 percent, but would still leave Chicago taxpayers shelling out an even 10 percent sales tax -- one of the highest rates in the nation.

Last year, Stroger was instrumental in pushing through a 1 penny sales tax hike county-wide to fill a budget shortfall. 

Critics say the measure doesn't go far enough, the Daily Herald reported. Others said the hike wouldn't have been needed if the county could reign in wasteful spending.

Stroger said the tax reduction is safe for the county because of new federal stimulus dollars, but the Herald reported that a lot of that extra money is there because last year's sales tax hike was bigger than it needed to be. 

"The fiscally responsible thing to do is to roll back the sales tax," Stroger said Wednesday morning.

But it remains to be seen whether Stroger's sales tax reduction is about being fiscally responsible and helping taxpayers in a time of need, or if it's more about making the oft-embattled County Board president look good a year before he goes up for re-election.  Of course, Stroger's detractors may be trying to do the same thing for themselves.

"I believe this is just window dressing in light of the primary that's 10 months away," Commissioner Tony Peraica told the Herald.

Peraica said he'll vote for the rollback, but he really wants the county to cut sales tax by a full 1 percent.

The roll-back would need to be approved by the full county board, and would not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2010.

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