November 13, 2014
The Civic Federation supports Cook County’s proposed FY2015 operating budget of $3.7 billion for holding the property tax levy relatively flat and not including any new fines or fees. Instead, a $168.9 million shortfall is closed through a combination of revenue increases, expenditure reductions and management efficiencies. Under the leadership of President Preckwinkle and her team, Cook County is continuing to become a more accountable and efficient steward of public resources.
Despite this progress, uncertainty continues to surround two areas that are central to the County’s fiscal well-being: CountyCare and proposed County pension reforms.
The Federation supports the County’s decision to convert CountyCare into a broad-based Medicaid managed care plan that can enroll all Medicaid recipients, but warns of tougher challenges ahead including intense competition for members and financial pressures related to the popularity of its network partners. Likewise, the Federation commends the County for developing a pension reform package that was approved by two-thirds of the unions that represent County employees. However, failure by the General Assembly to pass this legislation or some amended version jeopardizes the stability of the pension fund and of County finances.
Cook County’s Fiscal Year 2015 begins on December 1, 2014 and ends on November 30, 2015.