CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — While Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and her challenger Bob Fioretti touched on a number of subjects during an hour-long debate before the Tribune editorial board, it all came down to money. WBBM’s Bob Roberts monitored the exchange.

Preckwinkle was still sparting from the Board’s rejection to the controversial soda tax and the layoffs and program cuts that resulted. She was asked if the tax is truly dead.

“That’s it,” Preckwinkle said. “Good public policy is sometimes neither possible nor popular.”

In fact, she said, the Board appears to be in no mood to approve any tax increase. Fioretti said he would use a scalpel, not a meat cleaver.

“The ability is how you coordinate and talk to people. And I’m going to have yearlong budget hearings around the county to talk to people,” he said.

“The time for change is now.”

Fioretti said repeatedly that the county should hire an agency to collect over $4-million in unpaid bills at the county’s hospitals. Preckwinkle said most of those are charity cases.

Preckwinkle said she is operating county government with 14 percent fewer employees that she inherited.

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