Cook County Finance Committee Votes To Can The Soda Tax

Chicago Rethinks Soda Tax

The tax passed past year after Board President Toni Preckwinkle cast the deciding vote after commissioners deadlocked on the measure.

A vote to repeal the soda tax is expected to happen later this afternoon. The repeal measure still would face a final vote before the board on Wednesday. Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin (D-13th) was the lone vote against repeal. Within that budget is $200 million in expected revenues from the beverage tax. It has brought in $16 million to the county so far. Almost 77 percent of those polled said they believed the tax was in order to raise money, with 11.71 percent saying it was meant to "improve health".

County Finance Committee Chairman John Daley, who had supported the tax, said it was his responsibility to listen to the overwhelming opposition by his constituents to the tax. One day later, commissioner Sean Morrison announced that he and 11 colleagues had reached a deal to repeal the Ordinance, giving them a veto-proof majority that ultimately proved unnecessary on Tuesday. People living near the border of Cook County were willing to drive a short distance to avoid the tax. "Commissioners were listening and common sense has prevailed".

On Tuesday, in recognition of growing public pressure, Cook County's Board of Commissioners is expected to vote to roll back the tax, effective as soon as December 1.

Preckwinkle released a statement thanking supporters of the Ordinance, including the American Heart Association and the Illinois Public Health Institute, while sounding a conciliatory note. "Tax fatigue has set in when we have bottle tax and sales tax and hotel tax and gas tax and bag tax, enough was enough". As I outlined last week, it is up to the commissioners to choose our direction on revenue, and I respect their authority to do so. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg bankrolled ads promoting the tax as a deterrent to childhood obesity, while the soft drink industry through the Can the Tax Coalition ran ads against what it deemed an intrusion into consumers' lives.

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