Economy

Chicago Rethinks Soda Tax

Chicago Rethinks Soda Tax

The repeal of a sweetened beverage tax in the Chicago area on Wednesday renewed calls for Philadelphia to end its own, more expensive tax.

"Today, I voted with 15 of my colleagues on the Cook County Board of Commissioners to repeal the Soda Tax", said Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer (D-10) in a written statement. The tax went into effect on August 2, and has faced public backlash fueled by a repeal campaign funded by the American Beverage Association.

The tax prompted lawsuits, a warning from a federal agency that IL could lose millions in funding for food stamp benefits and complaints of plummeting sales from store owners.

The committee took the first step to repeal the ill-favored sweetened beverage tax on Tuesday and is expected to finalize the vote tomorrow. "Beverage taxes are really a money grab that has nothing to do with public health".

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As for how she misread pop tax opposition so badly, she said, "We're in a very hard time in this country politically".

The county, which includes Chicago and its suburbs, was the sixth USA municipality to tax sweetened drinks. In the latest poll, about 79 percent said they would not support a commissioner for re-election should they support the tax.

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

Had the tax been carried out, it was anticipated that it could raise an estimate of over $500 million per year in revenue for the state, and significantly cut costs for health issues like obesity, according to a Harvard study shared by the Tribune. They have until November 30 to approve a budget.


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