Jueves, 19 Octubre, 2017

County officials to vote to repeal Chicago-area soda tax

Cook County has placed a tax on sweetened beverages but now it likely will be repealed. | Rich Hein  Sun-Times Cook County has placed a tax on sweetened beverages but now it likely will be repealed. | Rich Hein Sun-Times
Ramiro Mantilla | 13 Octubre, 2017, 09:44

As a result, soda drinkers and business owners won't have to pay the tax starting December 1. The vote came one day after the county's finance committee endorsed the repeal measure. They also said that the tax would've helped combat sugary beverages. "The beverage tax has been a distraction in Cook County at a time when everyone needs to work together and find a better way". "It's not too late for Philadelphia's elected officials to follow suit and repeal our city's regressive, discriminatory and under-performing beverage tax". "I voted Wednesday - along with Commissioner Jerry Butler - to keep Cook County's sweetened beverage tax because it was a tax on a small number of people rather than a general sales or property tax on all". Consumers objected to paying an additional 68 cents for a two-liter soft drink or an extra 72 cents for a six-pack. "The loss of business caused by this burdensome and regressive tax stunned local grocery stores and community members".

The penny-per-ounce tax - narrowly passed by the Cook County Board last November - was repealed 15-2.

Preckwinkle said tax fatigue was part of the problem. Recent polls showed more than 85 percent of people in the county were against the tax.

Jim O'Hara, health promotion policy director for the Washington, D.C. -based Center for Science in the Public Interest, said that the repeal vote "will not change the momentum these commonsense policies have". The tax was applied to most beverages sweetened either with sugar or artificial sweeteners sold in retail or foodservice; exceptions included barista-blended coffees or other mixed-to-order drinks. San Francisco and Seattle will impose similar taxes January 1. It's also a second blow to soda tax movement that experienced a defeat in Santa Fe. The county board's president, Toni Preckwinkle, had vigorously defended the penny-per-ounce tax, which had been forecast to raise $200 million annually, on both public-health and fiscal grounds, backed by an advertising push from Michael Bloomberg, the former NY mayor. Bloomberg is the founder of the financial data and media company Bloomberg L.P. Bloomberg BNA is an affiliate of Bloomberg L.P.