CHICAGO - After months of gridlock, theCook County, Ill., Board of Commissioners is poised today to begin voting on a series of tax increases and budget cuts in order to meet a state-imposed deadline of Friday to pass a fiscal 2008 budget and avoid a government shutdown.

The action today follows months of contentious debate as board members were deadlocked over passage of county board President Todd Stroger's $3.2 billion fiscal 2008 budget. First proposed in October, that budget called for a 2% increase in the sales tax.

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