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Cook County commissioners delay vote to veto sweetened beverage tax amid Bloomberg ads

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L. Nicole Trottie,  Chief Editor

COOK COUNTY | Several Cook County commissioners filed a motion Wednesday to rid the county of the controversial sweetened beverage tax.

The decision to vote on the repeal was tabled to Oct. 11, with a hearing scheduled for Oct 10.

The sweetened beverage tax went into effect Aug. 1 in Cook County, raising the cost of sugary beverages by a penny-per-ounce.

Proponents of the tax say the increase will raise an additional $200 million to close the county’s budget deficit.

“We can keep these added revenue and Cook County can be healthier and safer and more efficient, or we can get rid of it and go backwards and be sicker, less safe and less efficient,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said in a statement.

“The long-term effects from obesity are too costly to ignore, the cost to Chicagoan’s health and the health system are simply too great,” said Dr. Clare Crosh of Advocate Health Care in release. “So please help me, help my patients, do not repeal this tax.”

Former mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg endorsed the tax. Bloomberg, a billionaire, paid $5 million for ads in support of the tax to be run on Chicago airwaves.

Opponents of the tax include beverage companies and their employees, who rallied against it Tuesday, and several county officials, the most vocal being commissioner Richard Boykin, 1st District. Recent polls show the majority of Cook County residents do not support the tax.

Boykin, who announced his intentions to run against Preckwinkle for the county board president spot in an interview with West Suburban Journal, said that Preckwinkle should have gotten the board’s go-ahead before filing a lawsuit against the Illinois Retail Merchants Association. The suit asked for $17 million in damages after the merchant’s association successfully got a court order to stay the new county sweetened beverage tax for over a month.

Preckwinkle later dismissed the suit.


Views & Opinions on the Cook County Sweetened Beverage Tax:  All interviewees are Cook County residents and registered voters

 

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