Cook County Sheriff’s office among agencies facing big cuts with soda tax on hold

The Cook County Sheriff’s office might have to lay off 15 percent of its workforce as county agencies scramble to cut their budgets amid a budget crisis.
Cook County board president Toni Preckwinkle warned of across the board budget cuts now that the controversial soda tax is put on hold.

The tax – at a penny an ounce – was supposed to help the county’s budget shortfall.

In a statement, Preckwinkle’s chief spokesperson said

As a result of the TRO, we are faced with a serious financial situation and we have to take serious action. The holdback outlined in the Budget Director’s letter is meant to inform and provide guidance to separately elected officials, bureau chiefs and department heads as to what we are collectively facing and how we all must prepare to confront this significant potential revenue shortfall. This is not a drill or an exercise; this is a challenge we all must meet.

On Monday, the heads of all county agencies received a letter from Preckwinkle explaining they need to slash their budgets by 10 percent before August 1st.

In some cases the board president gave names of personnel that could be on the chopping block.

The sheriff’s office says there are 925 names on its list – many in operational roles – including 212 sheriff police officers who are boots on the ground.

All county agencies have until tomorrow to inform the county budget office how they will make their 10 percent cutbacks.

The soda tax is back in court July 12th. The Illinois Retail Merchants Association has asked a judge to throw it out.