Friday, 15 December, 2017

Cook County soda tax repealed

County Commission President Toni Preckwinkle SiYH FlickrDo soda taxes make healthier citizens or healthier budgets
Theresa Hayes | 11 October, 2017, 01:14

However, on October 5, Cook County Commissioner John Daley, who represents this community, said he would vote to repeal the tax, giving tax opponents the needed nine votes.

The 15-1 vote, if it stands at the full board meeting, would be more than enough to survive a possible veto by County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

County Board Commissioner Richard Boykin, who has led the charge against the tax, has proposed cutting spending and eliminating vacant positions to make up for the revenue generated by the tax, which added 68 cents to the price of a 2-liter bottle and 72 cents to the cost of a six-pack.

It's a major victory for Big Soda, which has spent millions on ad buys, lobbyists, and political contributions in the county. If the item passes at today's committee meeting, commissioners would take a second vote to accept the finance committee report at Wednesday's regular county board meeting. The tax went into effect on August 2, and has faced public backlash fueled by a repeal campaign funded by the American Beverage Association. Cook County working families and businesses have overwhelmingly rejected the county's beverage tax. "Now, together, we must chart a new course toward the eighth consecutive balanced budget of my tenure as board president".

Advocates of that movement - which include a number of top public health groups and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg - have advanced the taxes as a means to fight obesity while also raising revenue for local jurisdictions. The nonpartisan Tax Foundation recently released a report critical of the efficacy of Philadelphia's soda tax, noting that "despite constituent support for the programs funded by the tax, the actual revenue for programs remains unstable due to poor collection performance, with potential that those revenues will continue to fall".