Cook County Puts the Kibosh On the Beverage Tax

The Cook County soda tax could be repealed this afternoon

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

The Cook County Board's finance committee has voted to repeal a penny-per-ounce tax on soda and other sugary drinks that has riled many Chicago-area residents.

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.

The tax will remain in place through the end of the county's current fiscal year, and will go away beginning December 1. The tax went into effect on August 2, and has faced public backlash fueled by a repeal campaign funded by the American Beverage Association.

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Cook County, which includes Chicago, became the largest jurisdiction in the U.S.to enact the tax on sugary and artificially sweetened beverages when the board approved it in November with Board President Toni Preckwinkle as the deciding vote.

Supporters of the movement which involve many top public health groups former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg have promoted the taxes as a symbol to combat obesity while also erecting earnings for confined administration. For instance, he said, a sweet bottled drink would be taxed while a similar beverage from a barista would be exempt.

"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.

Preckwinkle has not said whether she will veto the repeal measure. San Francisco and Seattle will impose similar taxes January 1.

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