Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County’s newly elected president, said she’ll take on fraud and cronyism. She followed up with an election-night promise to complete job audits throughout county government.
But Preckwinkle also used her victory speech to address the county’s imminent budget woes. The nonpartisan Civic Federation estimates a $285 million budget deficit in county government next year. Preckwinkle said that number might even be too conservative. She was quick to blame outgoing President Todd Stroger. She said Stroger has been uncooperative when it comes to balancing the books.
Preckwinkle did not get specific about what she’s willing to cut, however. She said she’ll wait to act until she has a better handle on the county’s finances. She admitted that settlements with unions and outstanding lawsuits will be a challenge.
“We’re going to walk in the door with a lot of work to do. However, we will begin by trying to figure out how we’re going to eliminate the sales tax as soon as possible,” Preckwinkle said.
Preckwinkle beat Republican Roger Keats and Green Party candidate Tom Tresser.