Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle made a comment this past week about suburban communities who've opted out of Cook County's minimum wage hike and paid sick leave ordinances by calling them, "shortsighted and self-centered." When I heard this comment, I could not help but think that it is one that drips with irony.
Diligent and prudent is the approach suburban communities took to assess the impact these two ordinances will have on their towns. That is in stark contrast to the autocratic approach taken by the Cook County administration when it rushed to pass these two ordinances within 30 days of each other while accepting little or no input from suburban communities. Moreover, legal opinions rendered on both ordinances deemed them to go beyond Cook County government's scope of authority under the state constitution. Therein lies the epitome of shortsightedness and a self-centered attitude.
More than 60 suburban communities have opted out from these ordinances. Suburban elected officials have a fiduciary duty to protect the best interests of their towns, and in my opinion, they have made the correct decision to avoid the negative economic impact these two ordinances will have on their towns' local economies.
I agree with suburban leaders who foresee these ordinances creating a costly economic disadvantage for their towns, which compete with the collar counties and neighboring Indiana. I also agree that these ordinances have the ability to stifle economic development for suburban communities as well as constrain existing businesses from growing and creating more jobs. That is why it should be state government, not local units of government like Cook County, that create economic policies that are fair and balanced for all communities across our entire state.
Sean M. Morrison, Cook County Commissioner