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Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle kept 'Stroger tax repeal' promise

By John Presta | January 4th, 2013

One of the measures of a politician is the promises they make in the heat of a political campaign. All too often, those "big promises" made are broken.

Not the case with Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle who ran on a platform that included repealing the hated "Stroger sales tax." Today, President Preckinkle held a news conference at Abt Electronics in Glenview, Ill. to show how a business has felt the effects of the sales tax increase first hand.

The hated "Stroger sales tax" is no more. The final installment in the repeal of the "Stroger sales tax" went into effect. The County sales tax dropped to .75% on January 1, 2013. It was final step of a two-year process to eliminate the 1% increase imposed by her predecessor Todd Stroger. The cumulative effect of the sales tax cut will yield roughly $440 million in savings for taxpayers.

"I have worked hard since taking office to ensure that families and businesses can trust County government again," President Preckwinkle said. "I kept my promise to residents to eliminate the sales tax hike, the most significant pledge of my 2010 campaign. At the same time we’ve taken significant steps to rein in spending, eliminate waste and create efficiencies."

In the 2013 budget, the .25% rollback had an $86 million impact. In 2012, the impact to the budget was more than $55 million. Preckwinkle noted that the budgetary challenges caused by the sales tax rollback made it more pressing to make strategic and forward-thinking financial decisions.

"We made the choice to cut taxes on everyday items a majority of residents need. This was a vow I made to working families who saw the price of toothpaste, milk and baby formula rise. It’s a pledge I made to businesses that were concerned their customers would buy goods outside Cook County," President Preckwinkle said. "As a result the County has had to rely on innovative solutions to lower spending without negatively impacting the services we provide to our residents."

Preckwinkle stood with business leaders from the Illinois Retail Merchants Association and the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce at Abt Electronics in Glenview, Ill. Co-President Mike Abt felt the effects of the sales tax increase first hand, and was there to thank President Preckwinkle for keeping her promise to the businesses and residents of Cook County.

"This is very important news for the retail community and consumers throughout the county," Mike Abt said. "We look forward to seeing the positive effect this has, not only on Abt, but other retailers in the area. We are happy to see President Preckwinkle keeping her word to make improvements that better the financial well-being of Cook County residents."

Abt Electronics is one of the largest independent electronic retailers in the country and has called Cook County home since 1936.

"The action by President Toni Preckwinkle and the Cook County Board will not only benefit Cook County shoppers, but also the retailers that serve them," Illinois Retail Merchants Association President and CEO David F. Vite said. "Economic development will also benefit. The tax climate is one of the many variables that businesses consider when deciding where to create jobs."

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