Chicago’s Cook County Braces for $218 Million Budget Shortfall


Cook County, which encompasses the Chicago metropolitan area, is bracing for a significant budget shortfall of $218 million in 2025. Despite a projected $367 million surplus at the end of 2024, the county is expected to require a massive $9 billion budget for the upcoming year.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle has yet to outline a plan to address the deficit, but has assured that there will be no layoffs, program cuts, or tax hikes. A spokesperson indicated that a proposal will be released in October.

Preckwinkle highlighted the county’s fiscal accomplishments, stating that they have protected pensions, expanded equity programming, improved bond ratings, managed pandemic relief wisely, and closed nearly $1 billion in budget gaps without raising taxes.

The projected shortfall is the largest since 2021, when the COVID-19 pandemic severely impacted local economies nationwide. The county’s health system was particularly affected, leaving many positions vacant.

As the second-most populous county in the United States, after Los Angeles County, Cook County’s budgetary challenges will have significant implications for its residents and services.

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