Cook County Board Overwhelmingly Votes To Repeal Soda Tax

Cook County Board Overwhelmingly Votes To Repeal Soda Tax

Troy Powers
October 12, 2017

The ordinance calls for a penny-an-ounce tax on sugar- and artificially sweetened beverages.

Cook County in IL, which comprises Chicago and many of its inner suburbs, has repealed its four-month-old tax on sugary soft drinks, known locally as the pop tax.

"This shows that momentum is swinging against beverage taxes", said William Dermody, vice president of media and public affairs at the American Beverage Association, a representative of soda companies who fought the tax.

The tax prompted lawsuits, a warning from a federal agency that IL could lose millions in funding for food stamp benefits and complaints of plummeting sales from store owners.

As for how she misread pop tax opposition so badly, she said, "We're in a very hard time in this country politically". Commissioners voted Wednesday afternoon to repeal the widely unpopular tax, effective December 1. "Residents and consumers have been forced to pay more on over 1,000 everyday beverages, including diet drinks", the anti-tax Can the Tax Coalition said in a statement on its website.

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Bloomberg has spent $5 million on ads supporting the Cook County sweetened beverage tax - citing the health benefits of fewer pop sales.

Proponents of the tax claimed it would improve public health by discouraging the purchase of sugary drinks, which have been connected to health issues like obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

The tax passed a year ago when Board President Toni Preckwinkle cast the deciding vote after commissioners deadlocked on the measure.

The budget cut caused by the repeal tax could amount to 11%, causing a lot of layoffs in order to cut costs.