Monday, 23 October, 2017

Cook County officials to vote to repeal Chicago-area soda tax

Controversial tax on soda in Cook County Ill. could end up on the chopping block Controversial tax on soda in Cook County Ill. could end up on the chopping block
Velma Reese | 11 October, 2017, 01:18

15 to 1 was the vote to repeal, a veto-proof majority.

Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer is hosting a public forum on Wednesday Oct. 18 to discuss ideas to improve the county.

In an October 5 budget address, Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle, the most stalwart defender of the soda tax, argued that county services - including hospitals, clinics, and community intervention programs - would suffer without the tax.

Cook County commissioners attended a finance committee of the whole meeting Tuesday where the first of two votes to repeal the controversial Sweetened Beverage Tax was expected to be taken. The tax went into effect on August 2, and has faced public backlash fueled by a repeal campaign funded by the American Beverage Association. In her annual budget address last week, she defended the bill and painted a grim scenario should the repeal succeed, forecasting 11 percent cuts across-the-board.

Syracuse community, Onondaga Nation rally for Columbus Day name change, indigenous rights
We invite all people to join us this year Saturday, Oct. 14, in this free, city-sponsored event in Martin Luther King Jr. While Columbus was credited with discovering this "new world", it wasn't really new at all.

"Consumer outrage is off the charts, " said David Goldenberg, a spokesman for the industry-funded Can the Tax Coalition.

County Finance Committee Chairman John Daley, who had supported the tax, said it was his responsibility to listen to the overwhelming opposition by his constituents to the tax.

In a statement posted to its website, Can the Tax praised the Board's decision: "Today's action by the Finance Committee is a critical step to ending Cook County's unfair, over-reaching and unpopular beverage tax". People living near the border of Cook County were willing to drive a short distance to avoid the tax. "Tax fatigue has set in when we have bottle tax and sales tax and hotel tax and gas tax and bag tax, enough was enough".

Advocates of that movement - which include a number of top public health groups and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg - have advanced the taxes as a means to fight obesity while also raising revenue for local jurisdictions.

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