CHICAGO - The Cook County Board of Commissioners voted Thursday to approve the FY2020 Cook County Budget by a vote of 15-1.
The lone vote of opposition was cast by Commissioner Sean Morrison from the suburban 17th District.
“The 2020 Budget continues to grow both the size and scope of county government and does not do enough to reduce the county’s unfunded pension obligations and other legacy debt obligations. As a result, I cannot support this budget,” Morrison told his colleagues.
Cook County’s newly passed $6.18 Billion FY2020 Budget is a $240 Million increase from the previous FY2019 Budget of $5.94 Billion. With $7.8 Billion in unfunded pension liabilities, Commissioner Morrison would have preferred to see President Preckwinkle hold the size of government for 2020 and apply the $240 Million to Cook County’s legacy pension debt – permanently reducing that portion of debt for Cook County taxpayers.
Further fiscal analysis shows that even though Cook County has seen a decline of Full Time Equivalent (FTE) employees, which has dropped by 14% since 2010, the overall amount paid to remaining employees has increased substantially from $2.15 Billion in FY2011 to $3.0 Billion for FY2020 – a 39.5% increase representing $850 Million more annually on wages.
In addition, and more significantly, Cook County’s overall operating budget has more than doubled from $3.055 Billion in FY2011 to $6.18 Billion in FY2020 – up 102%. “This rate of growth in spending is not sustainable for the long-term fiscal health of our county. It is not fair to Cook County taxpayers. We can do better and we should strive to do better,” stated Commissioner Morrison.
Commissioner Morrison also expressed particular concern for the long-term fiscal condition of the Cook County Health & Hospital System. Cook County was faced with several issues this past year surrounding the system’s financial health which were exposed in a bombshell report by the Inspector General.
Morrison also serves as Cook County's GOP Chairman.