Chicago Rethinks Soda Tax

The debate over the pop tax has blanketed Chicago area airwaves, with former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg bankrolling $5 million worth of ads touting the health benefits of reducing the amount of sugar consumed by county residents.

Cook County's soda tax has officially lost its fizzle. They also said that the tax would've helped combat sugary beverages.

Cook County was the sixth county in the country to tax sodas and other sweetened beverages, while Philadelphia, Berkeley, Calif. and Boulder, Colo. Commissioners voted Wednesday afternoon to repeal the widely unpopular tax, effective December 1. The tax has been tormented in its very short life by legitimate challenges, execution glitches, and a howling multimillion-dollar media battle amongst the soda industry and public health groups.

As for how she misread pop tax opposition so badly, she said, "We're in a very hard time in this country politically".

The Chicago Tribune reported that 12 out of 17 commissioners have signed on to repeal the sugary drink tax ordinance-enough to override a veto by the board president. The Illinois Retail Merchants Association, which unsuccessfully sued to try to stop the tax, called the repeal "great news for consumers and retailers".

Of course there will be layoffs, everything's on the table, says Preckwinkle, but she's putting the ball in the commissioners court to say where $200M of cuts should come from.

After Wednesday's vote, Preckwinkle indicated she wouldn't be taking the lead in adjusting the county's finances.

Preckwinkle and commissioners will have to decide how they will fill an approximate $200 million budget hole that the tax would have satisfied.

  • Eleanor Harrison