Suburban residents often complain they pay taxes to Cook County without getting the same benefits as someone living in Chicago.
Is it true? And what can be done about it?
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The questions were posed to candidates for the 15th District seat on the Cook County Board, held by Republican Timothy Schneider.
Schneider, 54, of Bartlett is seeking his second term. He upset Republican stalwart Carl Hansen in the 2006 GOP primary and went on to defeat Democrat Jim Dasakis in the general election. Schneider owns Golf Club of Illinois in Algonquin and Waterwerks Car Wash in Elgin.
Dasakis, a 45-year-old human resources analyst from Streamwood, is running again.
Laura Ehorn, 39, of Hanover Park, is representing the Green Party. She's a stay-at-home mother with three sons.
All three agree Cook County government is bloated and should be more efficient.
Ehorn and Schneider favor repealing what's left of the county sales tax increase adopted in 2008.
"That would give immediate relief on the taxpayer, put businesses on a more level playing field with the collar counties and it would force the county to make much needed cuts they have had to make for many years," Schneider said.
Ehorn said "nothing gets done very fast at the county level. She feels suburban residents often pay too much for services that they never use, like the CTA.
"The less we have to do with the big city, the better," Ehorn said.
Dasakis said Cook County needs to better utilize technology to become more efficient. He'd like to see more services online, including bill payment and forms for building and other permits.
"The needs are to expand technology in order to make services more efficient," Dasakis said. "The Internet has opened a new avenue for doing business."
Schneider said the county needs to depend less on the motor fuel tax fund to balance its budget. That money should be spent on road improvements, he said.
Dasakis suggested better training for county employees so they'll develop skills more suited to specific positions. Local business owners could help, he said.