Chicago's soda tax repealed, in blow to 'nanny-state crusade'

Chicago Rethinks Soda Tax

Cook County Commissioners Sour on Sugary Drinks Tax

As Cook County commissioners are set to vote to repeal a tax on sweetened beverages on Tuesday, a new poll finds that the millions of dollars in ads spent by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg may not have done much to sway public opinion.

After plenty of backlash from all directions, the controversial sweetened beverage tax that went into effect just two months ago has inevitably been repealed.

Store owners, drink companies and bottlers all battled the tax.

Even if the repeal succeeds, Cook County residents and visitors will still pay a tax on sports drinks, diet colas and sweetened beverages throughout the fall, as the repeal measure doesn't take effect until December 1. Board President Toni Preckwinkle is considering his options, including vetoing the repeal.

Proponents of the tax claimed it would improve public health by discouraging the purchase of sugary drinks, which have been connected to health issues like obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

The tax also applies to hundreds of premade sweetened beverages besides pop. The Illinois Retail Merchants Association, which unsuccessfully sued to try to stop the tax, called the repeal "great news for consumers and retailers".

"It means we will have a $200 million hole in our budget and we're really challenged in terms of delivering health care services, and our criminal justice reforms", Preckwinkle said in an interview with the Herald Tuesday.

After Wednesday's vote, Preckwinkle indicated she wouldn't be taking the lead in adjusting the county's finances.

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

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