Crook County, Illinois soda tax is fueling “free” health care, pensions

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Crook County, Illinois soda tax is fueling "free" health care, pensions

[cap­tion id=“attachment_101454” align=“alignright” width=“300”] Sign inside Niles, Illi­nois supermarket[/caption]

By John Ruberry

I’ve writ­ten a cou­ple of columns at Da Tech Guy, one here and one here, about Cook County’s hated one-​cent-​per-​ounce soda tax cham­pi­oned by County Board Pres­i­dent Toni “Taxwin­kle” Preck­win­kle, a left-​wing Demo­c­rat. But the ques­tion I’ve been only allud­ing to here and on my own blog is this one: Why is this money needed?

And the soda pop tax is only the lat­est out­rage. Like other coun­ties, Cook levies prop­erty taxes, but it also mugs res­i­dents and any­one who buys some­thing here with a 1.75 per­cent sales tax, along with gaso­line, liquor and tobacco taxes.

(Those cheers you just heard come from retail­ers with shops on the other side of the Cook County line.)

[cap­tion id=“attachment_101456” align=“alignleft” width=“213”] Toni “Taxwin­kle” Preckwinkle[/caption]

County gov­ern­ment in most places means the oper­a­tion of a court sys­tem and a jail, pro­vid­ing law enforce­ment, par­tic­u­larly in unin­cor­po­rated areas (Cook has few of those), and road main­te­nance. But in Cook County – Chicago is its seat – county gov­ern­ment means build­ing a mas­sive health care net­work, the Cook County Health and Hos­pi­tals Sys­tem, paid for by long-​suffering tax­pay­ers such as myself, and one that caters to the esti­mated 300,000 ille­gal immi­grants liv­ing here.

Chicago is a sanc­tu­ary city and Cook is a sanc­tu­ary county.

A DNA Chicago arti­cle about plans for a new county health facil­ity on Chicago’s North­west Side that will replace a much smaller one, con­tains a rev­e­la­tion on where all of that tax money is going.

Once it’s run­ning at full capac­ity, Carey [a county offi­cial] expects the site — one of 17 free clin­ics [empha­sis mine] oper­ated around the county — to host about 37,000 doc­tors’ vis­its annu­ally, she said.

Keep in mind, this is just one clinic.

More…

The pro­posal has been brew­ing since at least 2015, when doc­tors told newly elected Cook County Com­mis­sioner Luis Arroyo Jr. that they had “out­grown” the Logan Square facil­ity, Arroyo said.

Instead of expand­ing it, county health offi­cials began look­ing for a new loca­tion, where more imme­di­ate neigh­bors could take advan­tage. They landed in Bel­mont Cra­gin, whose esti­mated 12,000 undoc­u­mented res­i­dents [empha­sis mine again] has one of the largest clus­ters of unin­sured peo­ple in the city, Arroyo said.

Left­ism is expen­sive. Sure, some of what is spent on county health care for ille­gal aliens is reim­bursed by another arm of gov­ern­ment. Emer­gency vis­its at county-​run Stroger Hos­pi­tal come to mind as does the expen­sive state-​funded All Kids pro­gram. Hey, they get me com­ing and going in Illi­nois, that’s for sure. But who pays for the salaries and gen­er­ous ben­e­fits for the county doc­tors, nurses, den­tists, and admin­is­tra­tors? Not Kim Jong Un, that’s for sure.

Princely but under­funded county worker pen­sions are another rea­son “Taxwin­kle” needs her taxes.

As a polit­i­cal blog­ger I nat­ural fol­low cur­rent events. But I don’t recall the con­ver­sa­tion about the need for Cook County to trans­form itself into a wel­fare state, par­tic­u­larly for ille­gals, as well as a retire­ment pro­gram for not-​working-​so-​hard county employ­ees. But that’s what county gov­ern­ment has evolved into here.

And taxes and spend­ing keep soar­ing, even though the pop­u­la­tion of Crook County, oops, I mean Cook County, peaked around 50 years ago, when the county last had a Repub­li­can run­ning it and when none of these taxes existed.

Yes, left­ism is very expensive.

John Ruberry, a fifth-​generation Cook County res­i­dent, reg­u­larly blogs at Marathon Pun­dit.

Sign inside Niles, Illinois supermarket

By John Ruberry

I’ve written a couple of columns at Da Tech Guy, one here and one here, about Cook County’s hated one-cent-per-ounce soda tax championed by County Board President Toni “Taxwinkle” Preckwinkle, a left-wing Democrat. But the question I’ve been only alluding to here and on my own blog is this one: Why is this money needed?

And the soda pop tax is only the latest outrage. Like other counties, Cook levies property taxes, but it also mugs residents and anyone who buys something here with a 1.75 percent sales tax, along with gasoline, liquor and tobacco taxes.

(Those cheers you just heard come from retailers with shops on the other side of the Cook County line.)

Toni “Taxwinkle” Preckwinkle

County government in most places means the operation of a court system and a jail, providing law enforcement, particularly in unincorporated areas (Cook has few of those), and road maintenance. But in Cook County–Chicago is its seat–county government means building a massive health care network, the Cook County Health and Hospitals System, paid for by long-suffering taxpayers such as myself, and one that caters to the estimated 300,000 illegal immigrants living here.

Chicago is a sanctuary city and Cook is a sanctuary county.

A DNA Chicago article about plans for a new county health facility on Chicago’s Northwest Side that will replace a much smaller one, contains a revelation on where all of that tax money is going.

Once it’s running at full capacity, Carey [a county official] expects the site — one of 17 free clinics [emphasis mine] operated around the county — to host about 37,000 doctors’ visits annually, she said.

Keep in mind, this is just one clinic.

More…

The proposal has been brewing since at least 2015, when doctors told newly elected Cook County Commissioner Luis Arroyo Jr. that they had “outgrown” the Logan Square facility, Arroyo said.

Instead of expanding it, county health officials began looking for a new location, where more immediate neighbors could take advantage. They landed in Belmont Cragin, whose estimated 12,000 undocumented residents [emphasis mine again] has one of the largest clusters of uninsured people in the city, Arroyo said.

Leftism is expensive. Sure, some of what is spent on county health care for illegal aliens is reimbursed by another arm of government. Emergency visits at county-run Stroger Hospital come to mind as does the expensive state-funded All Kids program. Hey, they get me coming and going in Illinois, that’s for sure. But who pays for the salaries and generous benefits for the county doctors, nurses, dentists, and administrators? Not Kim Jong Un, that’s for sure.

Princely but underfunded county worker pensions are another reason “Taxwinkle” needs her taxes.

As a political blogger I natural follow current events. But I don’t recall the conversation about the need for Cook County to transform itself into a welfare state, particularly for illegals, as well as a retirement program for not-working-so-hard county employees. But that’s what county government has evolved into here.

And taxes and spending keep soaring, even though the population of Crook County, oops, I mean Cook County, peaked around 50 years ago, when the county last had a Republican running it and when none of these taxes existed.

Yes, leftism is very expensive.

John Ruberry, a fifth-generation Cook County resident, regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.