Preckwinkle: Cook County has laid off more than 300

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said Friday afternoon that the county has laid off more than 300 employees as a result of a budget crisis.

The Human Resources Department is working with departments, bureaus and the offices of separately elected officials to reduce personnel to address an approximately $68 million budget gap related to the temporary restraining order obtained by the Illinois Retail Merchants Association's preventing collection of the new sweetened beverage tax, she said.

The county also is not filling more than 600 vacant positions and the budget office has mandated each office to hold back spending 10 percent of it's budget, she said. "We expect further reductions as we continue to work with the sheriff and the Office of the Chief Judge to ensure real expenditure reductions in their budgets."

Preckwinkle said she regretted the actions but foresees a protracted legal fight over the tax.

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