Cook county sweetened beverage tax fizzles out

The sugary beverage tax ended on Dec. 1

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By Michael Romain

Staff Reporter

At midnight on Dec. 1, the Cook County Sweetened Beverage tax — which imposed a penny per ounce increased tax on the retail sale of sweetened beverages in the county — effectively ended.

The unpopular tax was passed by the Cook County Board of Commissioners last November. Commissioners voted 15-2 in October to repeal the tax after the measure generated significant popular backlash from consumers, businesses and trade groups.

The county, particularly Board President Toni Preckwinkle, argued that the tax would help fill a $200 million budget hole while encouraging healthy behaviors that would reduce the case burden on the county's health and hospitals system.

Opponents of the tax, such as Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin, whose 1st District includes all or parts of Bellwood, Broadview and Maywood, argued that the tax unfairly targeted low-income and minority consumers.

Boykin, who voted against implementing the tax in November, was among those who led the charge to repeal the measure.

On Dec. 1, Boykin tweeted jubilantly, "Today represents nothing less than Independence Day for the taxpayers of Cook County. The pop tax is gone!"

Boykin joined several other commissioners during a press conference at Supermercado La Chiquita in Cicero, which commissioners said was held to declare that "Cook County is open for business."

In November, the Cook County board passed a 2018 budget that eliminated more than 1,000 unfilled positions and decreased staff at the county. At least 320 county employees, primarily in the offices of the Sheriff and Chief Judge, were laid off.

CONTACT: michael@oakpark.com  

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Jeff Schroeder from Oak Park  

Posted: December 6th, 2017 4:31 PM

Just when I was getting to know the folks at the Elmhurst Jewel they repeal this crazy tax. Now we will be back to buying groceries closer to home. Of course, we will go to River Forest or Forest Park when we need to replenish our doggie bag stock. Oak Park still has the new bag tax to make shopping here more expensive.

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