Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle's proposal to extend the county's 3 percent amusement tax to cable TV, bowling and golf may not have enough support to pass, according to one Cook County commissioner.
"I just don't think it's got the votes," Cook County Commissioner John Daley told the Chicago Sun-Times after a Tuesday hearing on the proposed 2016 county budget. "I think [Preckwinkle] is already looking at other options."
Frank Shuftan, a spokesman for Preckwinkle, released a statement after Tuesday's hearing. He said the administration has "heard the concerns raised with the amusement tax, and we are exploring all revenue approaches with commissioners."
"Responsible and responsive government is informed by listening carefully to all voices. But to be very clear -- we simply cannot rely only on traditional revenue sources, some of which have declined in recent years," the statement continued. "And with 87 percent of the County's General Fund, our core operating budget, driven by personnel expenses, there are limits to where we can turn to balance the budget. Without additional revenue, agencies and departments across the County will be faced with further workforce reductions."
The amusement tax proposal would generate more than $20 million in revenue for the county.
Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey said Tuesday that the amusement tax proposal could be avoided if the county reduces spending across the board by 1.2 percent.
"It's difficult to understand that while the ink is barely dry on a sales tax increase that is expected to generate nearly $473 million a year, we're already looking to Cook County residents and businesses to pay even more," Fritchey said in a statement about the amusement tax plan.
"There is nothing amusing about the proposed amusement tax," his statement continued. "When you add in the largest property tax increase ever passed by the Chicago City Council and what I suspect will be another increase in the state income tax, I'm not sure that our residents have any more belt left to tighten."