Why one county commissioner wanted to keep the soda tax

Cook County was the sixth county in the country to tax sodas and other sweetened beverages, while Philadelphia, Berkeley, Calif. and Boulder, Colo. The tax, which was repealed 15-2 by the Cook County Board of Commissioners, lasted just two months in the county.

Evanston Chamber of Commerce executive director Linda Larkin said while some Evanston businesses welcomed the tax for its health benefits, many appreciated the repeal because it gave them "some breathing room" when it came to raising prices. "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".

The measure likely to be endorsed by the county board's finance committee Tuesday would end the tax on December 1. Groceries, restaurants and convenience stores complained the tax was driving consumers to neighboring jurisdictions to avoid the tax.

The tax passed past year when Board President Toni Preckwinkle cast the deciding vote after commissioners deadlocked on the measure.

Nanny staters are gonna nanny state. David Goldenberg, a spokesman for the industry-funded Can the Tax Coalition said that Consumer indignation is off the charts.

Not surprisingly, supporters of the tax decried the repeal as a blow to public health. "Evaluations of the first such USA 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". Board President Toni Preckwinkle is considering his options, including vetoing the repeal.

Grace, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 830, called on Mayor Jim Kenney and City Council to repeal the city's own sweetened beverage tax. Krieger further criticized efforts by "Big Soda" to oppose the tax.

Vanessa Coleman

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