A township in Cook County soon will vote on a measure that calls for the county to secede and become part of Will County.
Tired of high taxes and losing their businesses to neighboring Will County, Orland Township in southwest Cook County will ask its voters this November if they would like to secede from Cook County. The referendum is non-binding, but township Supervisor Paul O'Grady said his constituents are fed up with Cook County's high sales taxes and skyrocketing property taxes.
"This would send a strong message to the commissioner and the Cook County Board that the tax-and-spend attitude is not working for us here in Orland," O’Grady said, referencing the county's 2015 sales tax increase and a tax on sugary drinks currently being considered.
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O'Grady introduced the ballot question after a number of residents approached him about leaving the county for greener pastures. O’Grady said the next step after an affirmative secession vote would be to work with Will County executives to ensure a future binding referendum would pass a court challenge.
The township's 9,000-plus residents mainly live in Orland Park, Tinley Park and Orland Hills. Orland Township is bordered by Will County on the south and west sides.
O'Grady said the now-closed Oak Forest Hospital was the only substantive value his residents got from Cook County.
State Sen. Michael Hastings, D-Orland Hills, told the Southtown Star that he doesn't think the effort will have enough support to pass.
A 2009 sales-tax hike led to other Cook County townships considering secession. None followed through.
At a combined rate of more than 10 percent, Chicago has the highest sales tax in the nation. Cook County charges a 1.75 percent sales tax, while Will County doesn't charge a sales tax.