Come December, Cook County shoppers and diners will no longer have to swallow and pay a much-reviled tax on sugary drinks after the county board voted Wednesday to repeal it.
The penny-an-ounce tax has only been in effect since August, but a groundswell of public frustration, buttressed by a “Can the Tax” campaign bankrolled by soda companies and retailers, quickly amassed to pressure politicians.
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle has said the backlash against the sweetened beverage tax was unexpected.
“In light of … the national environment … where there is so much anti-government sentiment, it’s very difficult for local units of government to secure the resources that they need,” she said Wednesday.
Preckwinkle says that unless county commissioners come up with another source of revenue to generate the $200 million her office projected the soda tax would raise, “of course there will be layoffs.”
But Commissioner Richard Boykin, an early and vocal critic of the tax, called talk of layoffs a “scare tactic.” Boykin says the board will have to reimagine its budget, and look to cuts and consolidation.
Commissioners Larry Suffredin, D-Evanston, and Jerry Butler, D-Chicago, opposed repealing the tax.
Follow Amanda Vinicky on Twitter: @AmandaVinicky
Oct. 10: It’s been just over two months since Cook County began charging a penny-an-ounce tax on sugary drinks. But it may not last much longer.
Oct. 9: Cook County commissioners are scheduled to take another vote Tuesday on the county’s so-called soda tax. Opponents of the tax were pounding the pavement Monday, hoping to convince a few more commissioners to support a repeal.
Oct. 5: The Cook County board president used her annual budget address Thursday to warn commissioners and the public that repealing a tax on sugary drinks will take the county down a path of “fiscal uncertainty” that will result in layoffs and cutting “essential services.”