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*** UPDATED x1 - ILGOP responds *** Report: Madigan pushing back against pop tax

Friday, Sep 22, 2017

* Greg Hinz

In an usual split between two powerful Chicago politicians who are normally allied, signs are rapidly growing that Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is trying to kill off Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s penny-an-ounce tax on soda pop and other sweetened beverages.

Knowledgeable sources in both Chicago and Springfield say Madigan fears the highly controversial tax, combined with city property tax hikes and a boost in the state income tax and other levies, has created a toxic brew that threatens Democratic House members representing suburban Cook County.

Madigan has two potential routes to success. One is to throw his support to repealing the tax when the Cook County Board meets next month, something some sources say already is in motion. Preckwinkle has vowed to resist a repeal, but at least three key swing votes on the board are undecided, two of them close to Madigan.

The other route is to pass legislation in Springfield overturning the tax. A bill to do so has been introduced, and several endangered Democrats from suburban Cook are co-sponsoring it, something that almost certainly would not happen without the speaker’s blessing and maybe direction. […]

According to my sources, Madigan and Preckwinkle talked some weeks ago and the speaker flatly asked Preckwinkle to drop the tax amid signs that the measure was increasingly unpopular with tax-weary voters. She refused.

Go read the whole thing.

One of those “swing votes” mentioned above is Ed Moody, one of Madigan’s top field guys. And the treasurer of the PAC that’ll be funding anti-pop tax candidates is Mike Kasper, who is Madigan’s chief outside counsel.

*** UPDATE ***  ILGOP…

Madigan Opposes Pop Tax, Creates Divide Among Chicago Democrats
Now that it’s clear Mike Madigan opposes the Pop Tax, it remains to be seen if his designated choice for governor, J.B. Pritzker, will take action

While Toni Preckwinkle kicks the can down the road, pushing off a Pop Tax repeal plan until after a committee hearing next month, her political patron Mike Madigan is trying to kill it.

With his opposition, Chicago Democrats find themselves in a bind. If they take action on the Pop Tax now, it’s clear they are Madigan cronies simply following the leader. If they continue to bury their head in the sand, they ignore the 87% of Cook county residents who oppose the bill.

From the Chicago Tribune:

    So tell us again, Cook County commissioners, that the beverage tax will make residents healthier. Tell us how adding more than a third to the price of a sugar-free sports drink protects our children. Tell us why that candy bar is OK.

    Or tell us the truth, which is that you didn’t set out to reduce obesity, diabetes and heart disease — you set out to make $200 million a year without raising property taxes. That health shtick is a pretense plainly contradicted by that untaxed Reese’s sugar-and-fat bomb. Do you think taxpayers are stupid?

    Think again.

So, if Democratic commissioners flip-flop on the pop tax they are “Madigan cronies.” Hmm.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Grand Avenue - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 10:02 am:

    Russ Stewart has some good analysis on the issue this week

  2. - Anonymous - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 10:05 am:


  3. - Ron Burgundy - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 10:10 am:

    Well that signals to me that this tax’s days are numbered. I’ll put my money on the Speaker getting what he wants.

  4. - Fax Machine - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 10:11 am:

    Maze did bring up Kasper’s PAC in the Raoul interview, asking why it seemed it would be targeting black Commissioners like Stanley Moore & Deborah Sims instead of White Commissioners like Moody, Daley & Suffredin

  5. - Anon - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 10:13 am:

    Dear President Preckwinkle:

    Excuse me while I throw you under the bus.

    With kindest personal regards, I remain

    Sincerely yours,


  6. - Lucky Pierre - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 10:14 am:

    If you like your 32% permanent income tax increase, record property taxes, increased sewer and water fees, and now a regressive pop tax, continue to vote for the “protectors” of the middle class- Cook County Democrats who don’t believe any reform of government or our business environment is “reasonable”.

  7. - I said it - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 10:14 am:

    It would be ironic is soda did them in.
    One red cent too far.

  8. - Matt P. - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 10:15 am:

    The public is to blame. We cry over pennies on Mountain Dew.

    But we don’t make a peep when property taxes increase by $600 per year and sales tax goes up by 0.5% on all purchases.

    Unless there’s a tangible shiny object that corporate soda can make us mad about, we do nothing. We’re steeple.

  9. - Original Rambler - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 10:16 am:

    No doubt now the soda tax will be history. Normally inattentive individuals I know are up in arms over it. They will look at how their commissioner candidate voted on this single issue before deciding whether to support for reelection.

  10. - old time golfer - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 10:17 am:

    Moody will do whatever Madigan tells him to. The mystery to me is how State House Girl and Trib Ed constantly give Suffredin passes. He has voted for the last three tax increase yet they never call him out… Maybe Maze is right

  11. - the Patriot - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 10:19 am:

    How dare you pass a tax my law firm can’t make money challenging.

  12. - Boone's is Back - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 10:19 am:

    LOL, called this one. It’s a no-brainer for MJM. Get people’s attention away from the income tax hike and focused on the pop tax. Doesn’t affect the state’s bottom line.

  13. - DrurysMissingClock - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 10:22 am:

    I’m starting to like this Mike fellow..
    The soda tax is bad for the Party and more importantly the working people of Cook County. What an idiotic Hill for Preckwinkle to die on.

  14. - lake county democrat - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 10:22 am:

    –Knowledgeable sources in both Chicago and Springfield say Madigan fears the highly controversial tax, combined with city property tax hikes and a boost in the state income tax and other levies, has created a toxic brew that threatens Democratic House members representing suburban Cook County.–

    Me and the Speaker, together at last.

  15. - Served - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 10:23 am:

    The soda tax is one of those terribly conceived and implemented policies that usually exist only as straw men in conservative rhetoric.

    It was poorly made, poorly put into practice, and has been poorly defended. The health defense is so cynically transparent and reveals how toxic it is as a “tax.”

    Compare it to the .07 bag tax, which didn’t thrill anyone but has been assimilated into daily life and decision-making.

  16. - Arsenal - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 10:24 am:

    Yeah, if Kasper’s lined up on the anti side, MJM is, too.

  17. - lake county democrat - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 10:28 am:

    Served - I’m not sure the bag tax is quite that harmless: it’s a constant reminder to people, creating a nagging negative moment when you either feel guilty for not bringing a bag or frustrated for paying a fee, or you miscalculate the number of bags you needed to bring and are struggling to fit your groceries after going through check-out, etc. - and you’re not having warm fuzzies about Democrats. It won’t drive many Chicagoans to the arms of the GOP, but it can definitely dampen enthusiasm to get out to the polls and do them a solid.

  18. - City Zen - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 10:28 am:

    ==But we don’t make a peep when property taxes increase by $600 per year and sales tax goes up by 0.5% on all purchases.==

    All my peeps peeped. Those receiving the peeps don’t care.

  19. - cdog - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 10:35 am:

    These are my premises. Please stick with me while I make my argument.

    -Sodas that are made with sugar and/or HFCS are bad for your health when consumed in excess. Duh. :)

    -Tax policy can affect a change in behavior and can be “good government,” sometimes.

    -Democrats are historically known for wanting bigger government, higher taxes, and more regulation of the peoples in this country.

    So why would a tax and spend Democrat, like Madigan, contradict what is good and what is elementary to his party’s nature, by organizing an overthrow of what just may be good government policy which is directed at reducing a public health nightmare?

    Anwser. Madigan would rather cave to the beverage lobby, and maintain power by appeasing the upset public that drink too much of that crap.

    He should be advocating for this tax, anything else is a huge contradiction and disingenuous to his party’s values.

  20. - W Flag - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 10:36 am:

    If soda, juice, and sweetened beverages are so bad, tell me why Rahm has a special tax targeting those of us who drink bottled water? That’s another item that I buy when out of town.

  21. - PJ - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 10:38 am:

    Sorry lake county but if having to pay .07 cents because needing one extra bag makes one less likely to vote Democrat, our voters are so dumb that we deserve to lose anyway.

    Yes, I know that this really is how some people make their electoral decisions. But it doesn’t make me like it.

  22. - JB13 - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 10:40 am:

    Mike Madigan and the county politicians he controls?

    Or is that one not really a joke, even around here?

  23. - Chris Widger - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 10:42 am:

    The soda tax isn’t bad because it affects soda, and I think the power of Big Soda–or, at least, its effects on the Speaker and angry voters–is overstated. The tax is bad because it represents the worst of regressive taxation. Put aside the tiresome dogwhistling argument you’ll hear about how it’s unfair that the tax doesn’t apply to food stamp purchases of soda (it can’t); I think people would be a lot more receptive to the policy if:

    1) It taxed diet sodas at a lower rate or no rate compared to sodas with calories
    2) It came after sugary Starbucks drinks (can’t make the voters in Lincoln Park mad…), or
    3) It hadn’t been rolled out so poorly.

    Diet sodas aren’t awesome either, but could have been included when the tax was inevitably increased at a later date. It would have been really useful for the rollout to make that difference–instead, Preckwinkle went for everything. I honestly think these Bloomberg ads are making the tax less and not more popular.

  24. - lake county democrat - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 10:42 am:

    cdog - I think it’s the totality and the principle from the Art of War that the key to winning the battle that cannot be won is to not fight it. IMHO, Rauner won the election against Quinn, in a deep blue state, by running those ads with the soundbite with Quinn breezily saying he was going to raise taxes after the election. People will grudgingly accept higher taxes, but when it’s one after another after another after another, they start to thing it’s never going to end (and they’re right: CPS is going to hike property taxes successively in the near future, to take just one example). Rauner lost the short game of the budget battle, but he probably kept alive the long game: make Illinois residents associate tax increases with the Democrats and the Speaker (and they probably will, rather than divide responsibility with the renegade GOP senators). Madigan sees signs that this may be working.

  25. - Roman - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 10:44 am:

    How far is Preckwinkle going to take this fight? If the General Assembly is going to kill the tax during Veto Session she might as well get ahead of the steamroller and end it on her own. I’m certain that’s what her allies on the county board are urging.

    Maybe she wants to blame the resulting county budget cuts on the state legislature if they kill the tax? That’s very thin political cover for her “yes” votes.

  26. - My button is broke... - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 10:44 am:

    I think this is the reason that we won’t see an expansion of the sales tax to cover services. The uproar to this tax is so much larger than the income tax, even though the income tax is a larger tax increase. This is a new tax and people react differently to it. I would expect a similar uproar if the GA were to tax dry cleaning, haircuts, pet grooming, etc… It is just easier to increase existing taxes…

  27. - Lucky Pierre - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 10:45 am:

    As always the Speaker being reasonable, functioning in moderation, protecting the wages and standard of living for middle class families.

    That is what he is all about apparently.

  28. - NoGifts - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 10:52 am:

    And maybe Mr. Madigan took note of the clumsiness of the whole debacle from fruit to nuts - rolling back the sales tax, implementing the pop tax badly, threatening to sue people who had it delayed, the mess in snap benefits, not taxing other sugar laden items. The list goes on. I can’t help but feel Madigan would have been more careful and might be frustrated watching the whole thing. Why would he support something that was a mess from the beginning anyway? He can at least take advantage of the opportunity to side with the general public.

  29. - Anonymous - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 10:58 am:

    What is JB going to do? Anyone else read that as a fat joke?

  30. - Ron Burgundy - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 10:58 am:

    Not sure I understand the GOP response there. I think the better play would be to snidely congratulate the Speaker on wanting to get rid of a tax and welcome him to the fold. Get it repealed and then take credit for it. Trying to have it both ways muddles the issue.

  31. - City Zen - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 11:02 am:

    == I would expect a similar uproar if the GA were to tax dry cleaning, haircuts, pet grooming, etc==

    But the state could broaden its sales tax coverage to include services while simultaneously lowering the overall rate.

  32. - Last Bull Moose - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 11:02 am:

    W Flag. The tax on bottled water came in under Daley. Poor people drink tap water so the tax is progressive.

  33. - Sue - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 11:06 am:

    Like everything else with Madiganstan- it’s all about protecting his speakership. Does anyone doubt what Rauner said MM once told him is all he cares about is keeping his majority isn’t true?

  34. - wordslinger - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 11:07 am:

    ILGOP flacks quoting tronclodyte edits for support? It’s like being at the Algonquin Roundtable back in the day.

    I love the smell of hair burning in the morning — that tantrum smell. Smells like — hilarity.

  35. - Rich Miller - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 11:11 am:

    === Rauner said MM once told him is all he cares about is keeping his majority===

    Kadner said that, not Rauner.

  36. - walker - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 11:15 am:

    Of course Madigan’s worried. Taxes will be the dominant Republican attack theme this cycle, at all levels. Simple, rifle shot, very wide appeal.

    Incompetence at the Governor level with links to Trump will be one of Democratic shotgun messages. Takes too much explaining to have wide appeal.

    We shall see.

  37. - Levois J. - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 11:17 am:

    If Madigan finds a way to kill the pop tax, then there are other things he can figure out a way to kill from the state level.

  38. - Responsa - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 11:18 am:

    Here’s Mike Madigan reading the tea leaves and covering commissioners who know what they have to do here. Not sure the ILGOP did read the tea leaves. Seems they would have been much smarter to just let the self-immolation on the Dem side to proceed organically.

  39. - walker - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 11:19 am:

    Dld ILGOP suddenly have an adult filling in for public responses today?

  40. - Lucky Pierre - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 11:23 am:

    How about an extension of the services tax just on property tax lawyers who primarily represent the wealthy families and downtown office buildings to fill the 200 million dollar hole in the budget that would be caused by the repeal of the soda tax.

    That way the Speaker can keep his pledge to protect middle class families wages and standard of living.

  41. - One hand //ing - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 11:23 am:

    Dear IllinoisGOP: Why does your response exist? What is your goal? How is this a better use of your time than finding a full slate of statewide candidates?

  42. - Whatever - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 11:26 am:

    ==How dare you pass a tax my law firm can’t make money challenging.==

    Why can’t they make money on it? They have as much experience with this tax as anyone else in the state.

  43. - Leatherneck - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 11:26 am:

    “Speaker Madigan and the Pepsi he controls.”

  44. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 11:35 am:

    I’m glad the ILGOP didn’t make Madigan personally so awful here.

    The next thing you know, someone might take a cue and make an inappropriate t-shirt or something.

  45. - old time golfer - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 11:36 am:

    Grand Avenue- That Russ Stewart article has one slight mistake you might want to know. He has Moody winning because Murphy’s daughter and Mary Warner both running, 1 male 2 woman. But Warner is a die hard Republican and Murphy a Dem, so his reasoning is a little bit off….

  46. - OneMan - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 11:37 am:

    So, if Toni is going to try and stand her ground does Bloomberg start running anti-Maidgan ads?

  47. - Anon0091 - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 11:55 am:

    To the update, I guess ILGOP is just sticking their fingers in their ears and covering their eyes each time JB has come out and condemned the pop tax and called for its repeal. They just keep typing these words with no grip on reality. Also, it’s pretty obvious who they’re targeting - not the people who could change the policy but the person Rauner fears the most.

  48. - Arsenal - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 12:26 pm:

    ==Like everything else with Madiganstan- it’s all about protecting his speakership.==

    So you wanna keep the pop tax?

  49. - Fax Machine - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 12:42 pm:

    On Facebook, Alex Acevedo, son of Eddie, who lost to Theresa Mah, is spouting off about the pop tax every day and his brothers are calling out Chuy for voting for it.

    So it looks like Alex Acevedo wants to run against Chuy - but my guess is he’s holding off until he can get a funding commitment from Coke/Pepsi etc.

  50. - Grand Avenue - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 12:47 pm:

    Interesting factoid - Madigan & Kasper do not have the same candidate for Governor.

    Madigan has JB & Kasper has Kennedy.

  51. - Lester Holt's Mustache - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 12:51 pm:

    Knew we could count on the Raunerites to prove, once again, that all they are capable of is harming the ILGOP brand by mimicking national GOP tactics. Y’all can’t accept a win, even one that benefits the same taxpayers you’ve spent the last few months concern trolling over, if it doesn’t give you an obvious way to pin blame on Madigan. Let me know when you get back to supporting positions that serve the best interests of Illinois citizens instead of just trying to do whatever it takes to make the other guys look bad. I may go back to voting for you again.

  52. - Curious George - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 12:56 pm:

    I’m wondering who is running Bloomberg’s pro sugar tax campaign, and whether or not there is a Madigan connection? Anyone else curious?

  53. - Phil - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 1:05 pm:

    - old time golfer - is right about the lay of the land in Moody’s district.

    Donna Miller (wife of the former state rep) is circulating petition there, too. That is a u-shaped district that loops around through majority African-American burbs like Matteson, South Holland, Dolton, etc. The majority of the voters in the primary are likely to be African-Americans. Miller and Murphy might split the female vote, but Moody and Murphy will split the white vote. That’s gonna be a fascinating race.

  54. - anon2 - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 1:30 pm:

    So Madigan is doing the right thing, i.e. agreeing with the GOP about the pop tax, but the GOP won’t give him credit if he gets it repealed. Rep. Mussman is chief sponsor of the repeal bill. If that passes, will the GOP give her any credit?

  55. - Chicago Cynic - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 1:32 pm:

    “I’m wondering who is running Bloomberg’s pro sugar tax campaign, and whether or not there is a Madigan connection? Anyone else curious?”

    No. Not everything that happens in IL happens because of Madigan.

  56. - OHL - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 1:44 pm:

    Speaker Madigan is right as usual. The soda tax was a bad idea, and given increases in property taxes and income taxes, it is dangerous to disenfranchise the base over a tax such as this. I trust that the Speaker will work carefully to enact the additional taxes that will be needed to fund the many needs of the state. He knows how to do this while minimizing any negative impact to his democrat colleagues.

  57. - Soda - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 3:45 pm:

    Cook County Commissioner Edward Moody will probably be the deciding vote on the future of the sugar tax. The Chicago Tribune lists all of the contact information for the commissioners so that you can share your comments and opinions.

  58. - Anon III - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 3:53 pm:

    Why do increases in real estate taxes and sales taxes not raise public opposition, but the pop tax does? Because people can understand the pop tax.

    Order a cola at McDonalds, and you pay an extra 20¢, each time. Right on the Gatorade shelf in the grocery store, a little sign says the product it is subject to the Cook County Beverage Tax. It’s so easy to figure out: one ounce costs one cent.

    But just mention Real Estate Taxes in a community meeting, and before you pronounce the final “s” in “taxes”, most of the meeting has tuned out.

  59. - Harry - Friday, Sep 22, 17 @ 4:21 pm:

    All the GOP demonizing of Madigan does make it a bit awkward when he agrees with them on something.

    And, amusing.

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