Preckwinkle Engages Public In Seeking Ways To Eliminate County Budget Shortfall

CHICAGO (CBS) — Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle conducted a 45-minute Internet video chat Thursday evening — looking for ways to eliminate a $267 million budget shortfall.

One person suggested a casino admittance tax, another using Vista volunteers to provide county services. Others suggested leasing space at courthouses to restaurants and other businesses, selling naming rights and using fewer consultants.

Preckwinkle and her deputy chief of staff Neil Khare answered most of the questions as budget director Andrea Gibson took notes.

“It makes sense to cast as wide a net as possible when you’re looking for new ideas,” she said. “The more people you talk to, the more input you get, the more likely you are to get good ideas.”

Preckwinkle said she won’t go back on her election promise to eliminate the sales tax increase that predecessor Todd Stroger imposed. And she rejected out of hand a suggestion that the county deny medical services to undocumented aliens and turn them over instead to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for deportation.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports

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