What Tax Hike? County Borrowing $740 Million To Pay Bills

10/19/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Mark J. Konkol Chicago Sun-Times

It took some backroom negotiations for Cook County President Todd Stroger to score enough votes to give his cousin, chief financial officer Donna Dunnings, blanket authority to refinance about $3 billion in existing debt and borrow an additional $740 million.

A coalition of self-described reformers led by Commissioner Forrest Claypool nearly derailed the proposal at Wednesday's County Board meeting, calling it bad fiscal management to allow the Stroger administration to borrow that much money without board approval on specifics.

But Stroger, whose board allies stalled debate twice to win over objectors before calling for a vote, convinced a bloc of suburban Republicans and Democrat Earlean Collins to back an amended version of the plan, which passed in a 12-4 vote.