Chicago Repeals 'Soda Tax' After Just 2 Months

Jon Howard
October 12, 2017

Former McDonald's USA CEO Ed Rensi sounds off on Illinois' soda tax.

"Today, I voted with 15 of my colleagues on the Cook County Board of Commissioners to repeal the Soda Tax", said Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer (D-10) in a written statement.

Low-tax advocates cheered the decision as a blow to the "nanny-state crusade".

Despite warnings from Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle of steep budget cuts across the county if her pop tax was repealed, the Cook County Board Committee rejected her sweetened beverage tax 15-1 on Tuesday, Oct. 10, after a almost four-hour session.

"If there is one city America's tax and spenders should be able muscle through the latest tax fad, it would be Chicago".

Proponents of the tax claimed it would improve public health by discouraging the purchase of sugary drinks, which have been connected to health issues like obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

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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 country's largest soda tax was levied and two months after it the oppressed lawmakers in Cook County are already assured to invalidate it.

The tax also applies to hundreds of premade sweetened beverages besides pop. David Goldenberg, a spokesman for the industry-funded Can the Tax Coalition said that Consumer indignation is off the charts. For instance, he said, a sweet bottled drink would be taxed while a similar beverage from a barista would be exempt.

Some retailers opposed to the tax posted signs in the soda aisle telling customers they will pay $1.44 more on each 12-pack of soda because of the tax, and urging them to tell their county commissioner to repeal it.

County Board President Toni Preckwinkle had defended the tax, saying it was necessary to fund essential county services, but has said she will work with the board to balance the budget without the estimated $200 million in annual revenue.

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