* Press release…
Cook County’s penny-per-ounce tax on sweetened beverages, often called the “soda tax,” would be repealed under legislation (SB 2238) filed by State Sen. Chapin Rose.
“Many people just ‘roll their eyes’ at Cook County’s new soda tax as more of the same from the ‘nanny state’ that is Chicago,” Rose said. “But, people need to realize that Chicago’s actions will have a direct negative impact here in Central Illinois as one of the primary ingredients in any sweetened beverage is corn. So, agriculture will take a hit under this tax that is aimed at lowering consumption. Moreover, downstate companies and industries like ADM and Tate & Lyle and the shipping sector are directly engaged in the manufacturing of these ingredients. So make no mistake, Cook County’s actions will negatively impact us.
“I previously fought my own Republican Leader, and successfully, when she and others in the legislature last spring wanted to tax sugary drinks at the statewide level. But now Cook County is imposing its own tax. Thankfully, it looks like even some Chicago Democrats have had enough, so I am filing this bill and will be encouraging my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join in the effort to undo Cook County’s insanity. Many Democrats have already signed onto a similar repeal in the House. Let’s give the Democrats in the Senate a chance to sign onto this bill and see if we can’t move it forward.”
The person most actively pushing a sweetened beverage tax at the state level last spring was Gov. Rauner, who isn’t mentioned above.
Nationally, about 6 percent of corn is used for sweeteners or corn syrup. The Illinois Corn Growers Association did not take an official position on the Cook County tax, but [Tricia Braid, communications director for the Illinois Corn Growers Association] says they would oppose expanding the penny-per-ounce increase statewide. […]
Mike Doherty, senior economist with the Illinois Farm Bureau, agrees the impact now might be small, but any expansion of the tax could become a problem.
“[Corn syrup] is a component of what drives the demand for corn. So farmers do have a stake in it,” Doherty said. “The concern would be these taxes would be replicated in other large metro areas and would become a part of coast-to-coast taxation.”