* I asked Democratic candidates for governor this question…
Should Cook County repeal its pop tax? Failing that, should the General Assembly pass a bill to repeal the tax? House Bill 4083 is bipartisan legislation to do just that and was introduced this week.
Their deadline was noon today, but they all complied well before their deadline for a change. Some candidates ignored the second question, but some didn’t answer either one. Here are the responses in the order they were received.
* Tio Hardiman…
“Cook County should definitely repeal its pop tax. The pop tax was not a good idea in the first place. Too many consumers of pop and sugary drinks are complaining and there are many stories of people going to Indiana and other neighboring states to purchase pops.”
* Bob Daiber:
Yes! I encourage Cook County to repeal the pop tax because it is excessive for lower and middle class residents.
At recent public meetings, I have heard outward opposition to this tax. Also, the pop tax will begin to impact Cook County businesses as some residents shop elsewhere to buy soda and choose to buy other items as well. The end result will be a down turn in total sales tax receipts. Please see the attached receipts from two Walgreens stores for the identical purchase of a twelve pack of Pepsi. The pop tax added $1.44 to the purchase.
Since I support home rule of local government, I do not believe the General Assembly should intervene and pass HB 4083 because it preempts home rule.
* Chris Kennedy…
The Cook County sweetened beverage tax is another form of a regressive tax on lower income families. Cook County should not balance its budget on the backs of families who can afford it the least. I strongly oppose it and believe Cook County should immediately repeal it. We cannot clean up our finances with a patchwork of regressive fixes like a sweetened beverage tax. Illinois needs a wholesale reform of our tax code, starting with ending our reliance on a broken property tax system to fund local schools.
* Ameya Pawar…
“I was a proponent of raising cigarette taxes and going after menthol brand cigarettes because tobacco companies target and market menthol cigarettes to minority communities. These tax increases do indeed change consumer behavior and lead to better public health outcomes. But I also believe there must be more aggressive action against tobacco companies and their lobbies at the federal and state level, including the elimination of subsidies to tobacco farmers. Similarly, I know the soda tax at the county level will likely reduce consumption over time and in the near term raise enough revenue to protect critical county services. But like tobacco, we must go after the Sugar Lobby, Coca Cola, and Big Agra as they have pushed false data over the last half century on the impacts of sugar consumption to heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. As governor, I will take on the sugar and tobacco industries who profit off disease and death. And finally, if we are serious about reducing the consumption of sugary drinks, then clean drinking water must be a top priority for the state. This means, addressing lead in water systems, banning fracking to prevent the contamination of underground water supplies, and joining the US Climate Alliance. As governor, I will do just that.”
Way to not answer the question, man.
* Scott Drury…
The purported need and continuous call for targeted regressive taxes at the State and local levels are symptomatic of the long-term fiscal mismanagement of Illinois and various local governments. In order for Illinois to prosper, it must get its fiscal house in order. This is not done simply by talking about adding this tax or repealing that tax. Illinois must confront its outrageous debt problem in a fair and constitutional manner. By reducing its debt load, Illinois can reduce its multi-billion dollar annual debt obligation and reinvest that money into public education, healthcare, job training, local government and neighborhoods. As we have experienced, Illinois’ failure to address its debt crisis will leave our State in a perpetual chase for its tail, while Illinois residents suffer.
* Sen. Daniel Biss…
“We have a tax code that was written by billionaires and political insiders for their own benefit. Because the system doesn’t work for middle class Illinoisans, local governments are placed in a no-win situation to generate revenue.
“Fixing this broken system starts with an honest conversation about how tax decisions get made and why, for decades, we have balanced our budgets on the backs of the middle class. I hope that as members of the House consider House Bill 4083, they also take the opportunity to adopt a more holistic and progressive revenue approach—one that makes corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share.”
* JB Pritzker…
“Bruce Rauner is a failed leader who put our state through a 736-day budget crisis, forcing counties, townships and cities across the state to find ways to make ends meet. Even now, Rauner continues his ill-conceived crisis making, threatening school closings across Illinois. The damage is done, and people across the state are attempting to clean up the mess Rauner’s made.
“This governor has done nothing to make the tax system in Illinois more fair for the middle class and those striving to get there. I strongly support a progressive income tax and will work to pass one as governor. Progressive taxes are fairer than regressive taxes and that’s why I do not support the soda tax.
“However, given the damage the governor has done, local governments should be given deference to make decisions over their own jurisdictions to deal with the crisis this governor has created. Unlike Bruce Rauner, I’ll work to make sure the state lives up to its obligations so that counties, townships and cities are not put in such a challenging position.”