Cook County Board Overwhelmingly Votes To Repeal Soda Tax


Since the tax went into effect on August 2, 2017, it has generated $16m in additional revenue for the county, a spokesperson from Preckwinkle's office told BeverageDaily.

The Wednesday voice vote - two commissioners voted no - came despite a defiant 2018 budget address last week by Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who maintained the $200 million a year she expected the pop tax to raise was needed to avoid 11 percent across-the-board cuts.

Public and local media opinion ran consistently high against the tax, which its supporters deemed necessary for public health but which was revealed to be primarily a revenue grab by a county government looking to plug holes in its budget.

Additionally, Chicago-area retailers demonstrated that they were losing sales as consumers seeking to avoid the tax started shopping in collar counties and in for beverages, as well as other groceries. "Beverage taxes just don't work and we look forward to December 1st".

But the critics emphasize that the disintegration of the Cook County tax is evidence that the national soda tax movement is mislay its impetus.

Still, the tax has fueled much public outcry from both shoppers and business owners in the county.

Preckwinkle said tax fatigue was part of the problem. So, she said, the tax "never really" affected the pizzeria's soda sales and its repeal would also likely have no effect. But since all commissioners are on the finance committee, the vote leaves little doubt as to what will happen during Wednesday's regular board meeting. The county, which includes Chicago and its suburbs, was the sixth US municipality to tax sweetened drinks. They are Seattle; Philadelphia; Boulder, Colo.; and four cities in California: San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, and Albany. It's also a second blow to soda tax movement that experienced a defeat in Santa Fe.

The debate over the pop tax has blanketed Chicago area airwaves, with former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg bankrolling $5 million worth of ads touting the health benefits of reducing the amount of sugar consumed by county residents.