“Cook County finally has a budget that meets the needs of its citizens. After years of mismanagement and insider- dealing in the Office of the President of the Cook County Board, we finally have a President who shows up everyday prepared to meet the public’s needs.

“This budget corrects the unfairness of our tax structure and reduces our reliance on the sales tax. It streamlines the delivery of services while still guaranteeing essential services are readily available.

“The 2011 budget is not just a feel good document because it calls for restructuring and elimination of many County functions: over 700 layoffs, significant salary reductions for many County workers and much shared pain as we continue to restructure the County Government.

“It shows the cooperative atmosphere currently existing in County Government, whether it is through the strategic planning of the Independent Health Board or innovative technological ideas presented by County employees.

“Hopefully, President Toni Preckwinkle’s first budget will be her hardest. In less than 90 days after taking office she was required to put into action a budget that addressed the abuses of the past. With the Cook County Board she was able to craft a budget plan that will restore confidence in County government. The passage of the budget with a unanimous vote for the first time in over 15 years is a positive sign for the future.

“Although there is much reformative work still to be done, the Cook County Board showed independence and openness to new ideas through the over 35 amendments passed to perfect this budget.

“It is now clearer that Cook County can function without becoming the punch line of a joke.”