Cook County officials to vote to repeal Chicago-area soda tax

Chicago Rethinks Soda Tax

Pop Tax Repeal OK Expected Today In Cook County Committee Vote

The ordinance calls for a penny-an-ounce tax on sugar- and artificially sweetened beverages.

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.

A final vote on repealing the tax would come at Wednesday's meeting of the full board, but unless any board members change their mind again by then, the tax is all but certain to go away, as the entire board sits on the Finance Committee and voted Tuesday.

In an October 5 budget address, Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle, the most stalwart defender of the soda tax, argued that county services - including hospitals, clinics, and community intervention programs - would suffer without the tax.

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"Today the board exercised its collective will and set in motion a repeal of the sweetened beverage tax we approved previous year".

15 to 1 was the vote to repeal, a veto-proof majority.

It's a major victory for Big Soda, which has spent millions on ad buys, lobbyists, and political contributions in the county. The tax went into effect on August 2, and has faced public backlash fueled by a repeal campaign funded by the American Beverage Association. The $5.36 billion fiscal 2018 budget she proposed last week counts on $200 million from the tax to avoid cuts to healthcare and other core county services. The nonpartisan Tax Foundation recently released a report critical of the efficacy of Philadelphia's soda tax, noting that "despite constituent support for the programs funded by the tax, the actual revenue for programs remains unstable due to poor collection performance, with potential that those revenues will continue to fall".

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