Cook County Commissioners will consider a $334 million bond deal; a proposed gas tax to fund a youth jobs program and new county disability office; and a series of “clean up” tax clarifications proposed by Board President Toni Preckwinkle this morning, ahead of the full Board of Commissioners meeting later today.
Bonds – An ordinance authorizing up to $375 million in general obligation bonds was introduced by President Preckwinkle last month that “would permit the refunding of approximately $330 million of Series 2006A Bonds, which currently are subject to an average interest cost of 4.83%,” the President’s Office said. “The Refunding Bonds that would be issued are anticipated to have a blended cost of capital below 4%.” The move is expected to provide $20 million in reduced interest cost savings.
The senior managers of the deal are Loop Capital Markets LLC and Barclays Capital Inc. Co-senior managers are Siebert Brandford Shank & Co. LLC and William Blair & Co. LLC. Chapman and Cutler LLP and Burke Burns & Pinelli Ltd. are co-bond counsel, co-disclosure counsel will be Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP and Reyes Kurson Ltd., Nixon Peabody is pension counsel and Charity & Associates is underwriter’s counsel.
Gas Tax – Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin’s plan to tack an extra four-cent tax when county residents pay at the pump is also up for committee consideration, though county insiders say passage is highly unlikely.
Revenues from the gas tax would go toward a new County Jobs Council, Parenting to Prevent Violence Initiative, Office for People with Disabilities, and Community Policing Initiative, plus $45 million would go toward a youth jobs programs that would start in 2017. Boykin has held a number of press conferences and events with West Side pastors and activists since introducing the legislative package laying out those initiatives, the Community Stabilization and Anti-Violence Act (CSAVA), on April 4. He said the legislation is “designed to decrease violence, increase economic opportunity and keep our most vulnerable citizens from falling through the cracks.” He has also asked each commissioner to forego $10,000 from his or her $85,000 salary to help fund 80 youth summer jobs.
Commissioners will also vote on a series of clarifications to the County tax code:
- Use Tax: Changes reporting requirements for those paying directly to the department, and record-keeping.
- Amusement Tax: amends the definition of maximum capacity at places of amusement such as stadiums and theaters.
- Cigarette Tax: several changes, including expiration, concealment, or improper stamping of tax stickers on packages of cigarettes; mandated monthly returns for wholesale tobacco dealers or cigarette manufacturers; and changes to penalties for things like mutilated packs and hindering inspection