CHICAGO (CBS) — No new taxes — that’s what Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is expected to announce Thursday as she unveils her budget proposal for next year.
And even though the city won’t see money from new cannabis taxes for another year, Preckwinkle wants to spend more on wiping out drug related records.
Preckwinle has repeatedly said the county’s black and brown communities have been hammered by the war on drugs, especially when it comes to marijuana.
Now, months before that drug becomes legal, the county board president wants to add more than two dozen staffers in the state’s attorney’s and clerk’s offices to handle cannabis related expungement requests.
Preckwinkle’s budget team expects about 700,000 people will apply to have their criminal records expunged in just the next few years.
Even though Preckwinkle is proposing those new hires, overall, the number of county jobs would drop by more than 400 next year by eliminating already vacant hospital and medical jobs.
She says it’s one way she’s able to propose a balanced, $6.18 billion budget and close what was an almost $19 million budget hole as recently as June.
One thing the county isn’t banking on this year is tax dollars from the sale of marijuana, which becomes legal Jan. 1, 2020. That’s mostly because the state won’t start collecting those taxes until September of 2020.
Although the no new taxes, fees or layoff proposals are considered a good news budget for now, it could only be temporary. The county says moving forward in 2021, the county could be facing a budget deficit of more than $100 million.