the county board voted 12-to-3 to roll back the 1-percentage-point tax increase that was approved last year. The higher tax pushed the county's share of the sales tax to 1.75 percent and made Chicago's overall sales tax 10.25 percent - the highest of any major U.S. city.
Deborah Sims had been absent from that first vote, but the Stroger loyalist found her way to vote on Tuesday. She couldn't let Todd down this time -- the rest of us be damned!
Sims, who resides in Chicago, said of her constituents:
We don't have any businesses in my community to leave.
But Sims seems to forget that she is supposed to represent the South Suburbs, too, where there are numerous businesses. And there have been businesses that skipped over the county (or state) lines in the suburbs. Between the massive increases in our property tax bills simultaneous to the ten percent increase in our sales taxes, taxation is one of the most frequent complaints from residents in the South Suburbs.
But Deborah Sims doesn't care about us. In fact, she seems to forget that she even represents us. You could be forgiven if you thought that the last time Sims came down to the South Suburbs was in 2006 -- when she was campaigning for our vote.
The fact is that the South Suburbs is a disproportionate part of the 5th Cook Co. Commission district. Even in 2006, when the Chicago numbers were a bit larger, there were 61,926 Chicago registered voters in her district, while 130,786 registered voters lived in the South Suburbs. More than two-thirds of her voters live in the suburbs -- where businesses have left because of her support for Stroger's sales tax increase.
Both New York City and Los Angeles county have sales taxes that are two cents less than what we find here. It is extremely difficult not to think that the extra two cents is our corruption tax, the daily tax that we pay to fund corruption and patronage that seems to benefit only the machine hacks like Deborah Sims. Sims was right when she said, "You're mistaken if you think this is not political, because it is." Sims' loyalty lies with Todd Stroger and the relatives he employs, not with the good people of Cook County. It is political, and we know where Sims' political loyalties lay: with Todd Stroger.
Voters in the South Suburbs need to think about that -- and remember it on election day...