Endorsements: Pappas for the Democratic nomination for Cook County treasurer.
It's been two decades since Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas has faced opposition in a Democratic primary. So we're appreciative of Chicago CPA Peter Gariepy for his willingness to take on the entrenched incumbent and give county Democrats a choice on March 20. Still, for us, that choice remains Pappas.
In her 20 years as treasurer, Pappas has made huge strides in modernizing the office, expanding its services both online and in the community, and providing taxpayers with additional information about where their money is going. These accomplishments have occurred while the office has reduced its workforce significantly and lowered its need for county board funding from $14.3 million in 2001 to $1.1 million last year. And Pappas has been deservedly praised for the office's work to quickly establish a way to accept early payment in December when Congress passed tax reform capping the maximum deduction for local taxes.
Rather than rest on those laurels, Pappas is working on the challenges ahead, including potentially installing payment kiosks across the county if banks follow through on plans to stop accepting property tax payments at branches.
Gariepy is not an unimpressive candidate. His background as a CPA with experience on public sector projects makes him qualified for the office despite a lack of political experience. And he seems sincere about intentions to vastly increase taxpayer awareness about how their dollars are spent, though we have some misgivings about whether he can do so without additional staff or spending. Leading the treasurer's office could one day be in Gariepy's future, but for now it's already in good hands.
We endorse Pappas.