“What I’m about to say is not what I hoped to say this evening,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle told a packed board room on Wednesday evening, laying out revised budget estimates that show the County will likely begin next fiscal year with a $287.5 million operating gap to fill. That number is nearly three times the amount the county projected less than a month ago. The state’s budget agreement and a restraining order against the county’s beverage tax has changed the administration’s arithmetic, and will likely lead to layoffs for hundreds of county employees “through no fault of their own,” she said.

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