Cook County Puts the Kibosh On the Beverage Tax

Javier Howell
October 12, 2017

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

Controversial tax on soda in Cook County, Ill., could end up on the chopping block.

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

The Philadelphia Beverage Tax, which went into effect in January, levies a 1.5-cents-per-ounce tax on a variety of sweet drinks, including sodas, fruit drinks, energy drinks, flavored water and re-sweetened coffee and teas. 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".

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.

"Nothing good has come from Cook County's beverage tax".

The tax also applies to hundreds of premade sweetened beverages besides pop.

The tax, which was projected to raise $200 million annually, raised $16 million from August 3 to September 20, approximately $2 million less than expected, according to Frank Shuftan, a spokesman for Preckwinkle.

"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".

The Chicago Tribune reported that the American Beverage Association and store owners spent millions pushing for repeal, while soda tax crusader Michael Bloomberg backed an even more expensive ad campaign to preserve the tax.

Preckwinkle warned commissioners Thursday, Oct. 5, that they would be forced to make steep cuts across the county to make up for the lost revenue officials counted on from the tax to balance next year's $5.4 billion budget.

Other reports by Insurance News

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