Pop Tax Repeal OK Expected Today In Cook County Committee Vote

Chicago Rethinks Soda Tax

Former McDonald's USA CEO Ed Rensi sounds off on Illinois' soda tax.

Cook County in IL, which comprises Chicago and many of its inner suburbs, has repealed its four-month-old tax on sugary soft drinks, known locally as the pop tax.

Low-tax advocates cheered the decision as a blow to the "nanny-state crusade".

Bloomberg has spent $5 million on ads supporting the Cook County sweetened beverage tax - citing the health benefits of fewer pop sales. "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".

Preckwinkle has said repeal could mean budget cuts and layoffs.




But critics argued it hurt retailers and hit low-income residents particularly hard.

The country's largest soda tax was levied and two months after it the oppressed lawmakers in Cook County are already assured to invalidate it. "Today's events also underscore the fact that the beverage industry, with its virtually unlimited financial resources, will stop at nothing to halt or overturn beverage taxes that threaten its profits and its ability to market sugar-sweetened drinks to the communities it claims to care about".

"This shows that momentum is swinging against beverage taxes", said William Dermody, vice president of media and public affairs at the American Beverage Association, a representative of soda companies who fought the tax. David Goldenberg, a spokesman for the industry-funded Can the Tax Coalition said that Consumer indignation is off the charts.

"Because of provisions in IL 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".

Preckwinkle and commissioners will have to decide how they will fill an approximate $200 million budget hole that the tax would have satisfied.

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