News Worms
News Worms


Chicago Rethinks Soda Tax

Chicago Rethinks Soda Tax

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

The county consists of 5.2 million people and was hitherto competing with budgetary desolation and extensive voter exasperation with state and local government when the board voted when levied one-cent-per-ounce tax on soda and other sugary drinks.

After delays related to a lawsuit from the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, the tax on sugary beverages went into effect this past August.

Cook County, which includes Chicago, was the largest jurisdiction in the country with a soda tax. "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". The tax has been tormented in its very short life by legitimate challenges, execution glitches, and a howling multimillion-dollar media battle amongst the soda industry and public health groups.

Repeal could force the closure of community health centers, delay property tax bills and force the county to borrow money to purchase "new election equipment to protect our voting systems from cyber attacks", Preckwinkle said. For instance, he said, a sweet bottled drink would be taxed while a similar beverage from a barista would be exempt. It applies not just to soda, but also to sports drinks, iced tea and lemonade, and comes on top of beverage taxes imposed by IL and Chicago.

"It had nothing to do with health - everything to do with revenue" Goldberg said.

The tax passed previous year when Board President Toni Preckwinkle cast the deciding vote after commissioners deadlocked on the measure.

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