Pop Tax Repeal OK Expected Today In Cook County Committee Vote

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Commissioner Larry Suffredin, D-Evanston, was alone in voting to keep it.

Just over two months since it was implemented, Cook County commissioners have soured on a penny-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks.

The tax prompted lawsuits, a warning from a federal agency that IL could lose millions in funding for food stamp benefits and complaints of plummeting sales from store owners.

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Wednesday's final vote came after a similar finance committee vote Tuesday. Supporters of the tax claimed that it would've raised $200 million in the 2018 fiscal year budget, beginning December 1. Opponents of the tax included retailers and the American Beverage Association.

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.

Cook County, which includes Chicago, was the largest jurisdiction in the country with a soda tax.

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"Because of provisions in IL tax law - unique to this state and not relevant to adoption of taxes elsewhere - the Cook County tax was quite different than those in other cities".

As for how she misread pop tax opposition so badly, she said, "We're in a very hard time in this country politically". It applies not just to soda, but also to sports drinks, iced tea and lemonade, and comes on top of beverage taxes imposed by IL and Chicago.

"It means we will have a $200 million hole in our budget and we're really challenged in terms of delivering health care services, and our criminal justice reforms", Preckwinkle said in an interview with the Herald Tuesday.

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