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

The tax was expected to raise $200 million per year.

The tax, which collects a penny per ounce on sweetened-beverage purchases, was obviously despised by consumers the moment it went into effect in August-and for good reason. According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, the Can the Tax Coalition, an organization that includes local store owners and soda industry group the American Beverage Association, has spent at least $3.2 million in anti-tax TV and radio ads. Cook County working families and businesses have overwhelmingly rejected the county's beverage tax.

Preckwinkle warned commissioners Thursday that they would be forced to make steep cuts across the county to make up for the lost revenue officials counted on from the tax to balance next year's $5.4 billion budget. Pollsters asked the same question in early August, with nearly 87 percent opposing the tax then - a statistically insignificant change. I am committed to working with my colleagues and President Preckwinkle to approach the 2018 budget line-by-line and find alternate ways to close the budget gap. 11 votes out of the 16 member board are required to override a veto by Preckwinkle. A spokesman for her office declined to comment on the likely repeal of the tax. The policy's rollout was dogged by implementation errors and legal challenges. But the county was forced to revise that plan when it realized that it would make the soda tax subject to an additional sales tax, which is illegal in IL. But local governments are not allowed to tax transactions that are paid for using federal nutrition benefits, which meant Chicago had to exempt more than 870,000 people from paying the tax - a last-minute change that dented revenue expectations.

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