NEWS IN BRIEF

Cook County board votes 15-1 to repeal sugary drink tax

By Mary Ellen Shoup contact

- Last updated on GMT

Preckwinkle said that Cook County must now come up with a new way to solve its budget deficit. ©GettyImages/Marti157900
Preckwinkle said that Cook County must now come up with a new way to solve its budget deficit. ©GettyImages/Marti157900
The Cook County Board of Commissioner’s Finance Committee has voted 15-1 to repeal the county’s sweetened beverage tax, effective Dec. 1, 2017.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, an advocate for the tax, said in a statement that she is “disappointed”​ by the vote and that it is now up to “commissioners to choose our direction on revenue.”

Since the tax went into effect on Aug. 2, 2017, it has generated $16m in additional revenue for the county, a spokesperson from Preckwinkle’s office told BeverageDaily.

The tax repeal faces a final vote from the full board this week.

Healthy Food America’s executive director Dr. Jim Krieger said that Cook County’s success in repealing the sweetened beverage tax was unique to state’s tax legislation; and that it would not stop the momentum of other taxes that have taken effect across the US, including Philadelphia and Seattle earlier this year.

“Because of provisions in Illinois 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. Illinois law required that the tax be levied on consumers, while all other cities tax beverage distributors, which is a simpler process,”​ Krieger said in a statement.

“In the next year, more and more cities and counties will take up the challenge of making their communities healthier by standing up to Big Soda, taxing its harmful product, and using the tax revenues to address critical community needs.”

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