Cook County Board Overwhelmingly Votes To Repeal Soda Tax

County Commission President Toni Preckwinkle

The only two commissioners to vote against the tax were Evanston Democrat Larry Suffredin and Chicago Democrat Jerry Butler.

"Today, I voted with 15 of my colleagues on the Cook County Board of Commissioners to repeal the Soda Tax", said Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer (D-10) in a written statement.

The vote sets the stage for a final vote on Wednesday to repeal the tax, which aroused the ire of consumers and retailers who say their businesses have been adversely affected. Supporters of the tax claimed that it would've raised $200 million in the 2018 fiscal year budget, beginning December 1.

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The budget cut caused by the repeal tax could amount to 11%, causing a lot of layoffs in order to cut costs. The tax has been tormented in its very short life by legitimate challenges, execution glitches, and a howling multimillion-dollar media battle amongst the soda industry and public health groups. It applies not just to soda, but also to sports drinks, iced tea and lemonade, and comes on top of beverage taxes imposed by IL and Chicago.

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

After delays related to a lawsuit from the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, the tax on sugary beverages went into effect this past August.

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"Because of provisions in IL tax law - unique to this state and not relevant to adoption of taxes elsewhere - the Cook County tax was quite different than those in other cities".

Preckwinkle has not said whether she will veto the repeal measure.

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