* Greg Hinz…
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle dropped a political bomb on Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposed 2016 city budget today, saying it’s technically impossible to implement a special break Emanuel wants in order to largely shelter city homeowners from the $588 million property tax hike he plans.
“We can’t do it,” said Preckwinkle, referring to an expanded homestead exemption Emanuel wants, a measure that would have to be administered by the county’s property-taxing system. “There’s no way we can get our computer software to do it.”
Preckwinkle’s comments, which came during a meeting with Crain’s editorial board on her own proposed 2016 budget, followed a meeting this morning between her and other county officials, notably including County Treasurer Maria Pappas, whose office actually sends out the property tax bills. Preckwinkle said her understanding of what is and is not technically possible came largely from Pappas.
Pappas, in a phone call, complained that Preckwinkle is “using” her as part of a political feud with the mayor, but she did confirm that, indeed, the county’s current, antiquated computer system cannot neatly divide properties and their tax rates between those located in and out of the city.
“They can’t do it. I’m 95 percent sure they can’t do it,” said Pappas, noting that the county only recently began to move to replace its quarter-century-old mainframe computer.
Man, it just gets worse every single solitary day.