Cook County Puts Soda Tax on Ice in December

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County Board Commissioner Richard Boykin, who has led the charge against the tax, has proposed cutting spending and eliminating vacant positions to make up for the revenue generated by the tax, which added 68 cents to the price of a 2-liter bottle and 72 cents to the cost of a six-pack.

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.

Collections under Cook County's soda tax commenced on August 2, quickly kicking up a public backlash. "Evaluations of the first such US tax, in Berkeley, Calif., and another from Mexico have shown decreased consumption of sugar drinks and increased consumption of healthy beverages, while providing needed revenues for other public health measures". As a result, soda drinkers and business owners won't have to pay the tax starting December 1. David Goldenberg, a spokesman for the industry-funded Can the Tax Coalition said that Consumer indignation is off the charts. The tax will be in effect for just four months. "The beverage tax has been a distraction in Cook County at a time when everyone needs to work together and find a better way".

But Hecky Powell, who owns Hecky's Barbeque, said the tax had caused a roughly 20-percent drop in soda sales at the restaurant. Board President Toni Preckwinkle is considering his options, including vetoing the repeal.

After initially trying to absorb the tax, Powell said he had to raise drink prices to transfer the burden to customers when revenue declined.

The final repeal vote came after the American Beverage Association and local store owners teamed to spend millions of dollars to push for repeal, countering an even more expensive TV and radio ad campaign by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire public health advocate.