* From the Illinois Policy Institute’s news service…
Cook County’s penny-per-ounce sugary drink tax is one final step away from being repealed.
Despite threats from County Board President Toni Preckwinkle that a repeal would leave the county without enough money to pay for basic services, the County Board’s Finance Committee, which is made up of all 17 board members, voted overwhelmingly – 15-1 – Tuesday to recommend eliminating the tax, with one member absent. Commissioner Larry Suffredin was the sole vote to keep the tax. The full County Board is expected to formalize the repeal with a vote during its meeting Wednesday. […]
Some commissioners pushed back against all the dire warnings.
“The sky is not falling,” Commissioner Richard Boykin said, adding that there are places in the county budget that can be reasonably cut, including not filling hundreds of vacant positions that have been budgeted for. […]
Commissioner Jeffrey Tobolski said Tuesday that taxpayers have made it clear they can’t take more tax hikes.
“People are tired of it,” he said. “They are literally being taxed out of their shoes. … We’re really going to need to retool the way we think.”
That includes addressing what he called Cadillac pension and other benefit plans that workers in the private sector don’t receive.
All commissioners sit on that committee, so tomorrow’s final repeal vote will be similar. The tax will be eliminated December 1st.
* The roll call…
“This is great news for consumers and retailers throughout Cook County. Since its inception, this tax was poorly devised, placed an enormous operational and financial burden on retailers and saddled consumers with the responsibility to pick up the tab. We thank Commissioners Morrison and Boykin for leading the charge for repeal and all of the County Board members that have signed on to the repeal,” said Rob Karr, president & CEO, IRMA.
…Adding… From Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle…
Today the board exercised its collective will and set in motion a repeal of the sweetened beverage tax we approved last year. As I outlined last week, it is up to the commissioners to choose our direction on revenue, and I respect their authority to do so. Now, together, we must chart a new course toward the eighth consecutive balanced budget of my tenure as board president.
While I am disappointed in today’s outcome, I am grateful to the dedicated public health advocates at the American Heart Association and the Illinois Public Health Institute who have supported us every step of the way. And I am thankful for the talented professionals at the Cook County Health and Hospitals System who are committed to promoting better health outcomes for residents across the County, especially in our vulnerable communities.
As I noted last month, the difficult fight for this revenue has focused me on what matters most: doing the hard work necessary to build a healthier, safer and more efficient Cook County.
That work continues.