Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin wants the gas tax hiked by 4 cents to pay for a youth employment and anti-violence initiative.
The proposed "Community Stabilization and Anti-Violence Act of Cook County," backed by county Sheriff Tom Dart, calls for a 4-cent increase in the county's gas tax, which would generate $50 million in revenue for the proposal.
Currently, Cook County has a 6-cents-per-gallon tax on gasoline. A 4-cent increase in the gas tax works out to be an additional $28 a year for the average driver.
Boykin plans to introduce the proposal at next week's Cook County Board meeting. According to Boykin's office, the legislative package includes the following components:
- A Cook County Jobs Council to strategically tackle the issue of unemployment among youth aged 16-24;
- A Countywide Parenting Education Initiative designed to address one the root causes of neighborhood violence;
- A Cook County Office for People with Disabilities, which will provide integrated services to citizens with disabilities, among which the unemployment rate is approximately 75 percent;
- A Cook County Community Policing Initiative to be run out of the Office of the Cook County Sheriff, designed to provide critical law enforcement support in Cook County communities with high levels of violence.
The proposal calls for the hiring of at least 15 additional sheriff's officers "who shall be assigned the primary task of community policing in Cook County neighborhoods with high levels of violence," according to Boykin's office, which says $2 million would be allocated to boost policing efforts in high-crime areas.
Boykin's plan comes as Chicago grapples with a spike in murders and shootings this year and on the heels of Cook County commissioners holding a hearing on the problem of youth unemployment in the region.