Cook County Puts the Kibosh On the Beverage Tax

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The only two commissioners to vote against the tax were Evanston Democrat Larry Suffredin and Chicago Democrat Jerry Butler.

The short-lived tax existed to battle obesity, but it was repealed after voters noted that the idea would hurt low-income families.

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 August 2, 2017, it has generated $16m in additional revenue for the county, a spokesperson from Preckwinkle's office told BeverageDaily. "Beverage taxes are really a money grab that has nothing to do with public health".

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Amidst the identification of increasing public pressure Cook County's Board of Commissioners is anticipated to vote to roll back the tax, effective from December 1. For instance, he said, a sweet bottled drink would be taxed while a similar beverage from a barista would be exempt. "Residents and consumers have been forced to pay more on over 1,000 everyday beverages, including diet drinks", the anti-tax Can the Tax Coalition said in a statement on its website.

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.

Gainer said she is committed to working with Preckwinkle and her colleagues "to approach the 2018 budget line-by-line and find alternate ways to close the budget gap". San Francisco and Seattle will impose similar taxes January 1.

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