County budget passes, calls for 321 employees to be laid off

Hundreds of Cook County employees will be laid off under a 2018 budget passed unanimously Tuesday by the Board of Commissioners.

The layoffs result from the county board's decision earlier this year to repeal a penny-per-ounce sweetened beverage tax, creating a $200 million budget hole, some county officials said.

"This is not the budget I wanted," board President Toni Preckwinkle said after the vote. Preckwinkle had championed the tax and had warned that layoffs would result if it were repealed.

"People should really wonder what type of government we are when we're laying off people at this time of year," said Commissioner Larry Suffredin of Evanston - who nonetheless was a reluctant "yes" vote because "this is the only solution we have on this day."

The layoffs break down this way: five from the county assessor's office; eight from the Board of Review; 34 from Cook County Health and Hospital Corporation; 156 from the office of Chief Judge Tim Evans; three from the Cook County clerk's office; 15 from Preckwinkle's office; and 100 from the office of Sheriff Tom Dart.

• This report was produced in partnership with the Chicago Sun-Times. For related coverage, check

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