Sugary Beverage Tax Pops This Weekend

CHICAGO (CBS) — Sayf Masoud and his family own seven small grocery stores in Chicago, and they’re gearing up for a very busy weekend.

“Besides having to try and stock up and everything for the 4th of July, we have to add on this extra job,” he tells CBS 2’s Jim Williams.

The extra job: preparing for the new penny-an-ounce tax on any nonalcoholic beverage with sugar or artificial sweeter. It goes into effect in Cook County this Saturday.

“It’s just another headache.”

Masoud and his workers will empty the coolers and shelves and restock one bottle and can at a time.

 

“We have to pull, scan it, put the extra tax on it. Create a code for the tax and tag every item,” he explains.

It’s a lot of work, especially for the small business owner.

And it’s another tax in the Chicago area, frustrating consumers.

Roy Schrode notes the city of Chicago already put a 7-cent tax on bags at supermarkets.

“You wonder why people are leaving the city, it’s simple enough — taxing them out of here!”

Cook County Board President Toni Precklewinkle insists the county needs the extra revenue and touts the health benefits of consumers possibly gulping fewer soft drinks.

But Masoud worries about loss of business.

“People are going to be walking out, leaving items because they’re not satisfied with this tax,” he predicts.

Chicagoan Terrance Jackson told us he’ll just swallow the extra tax to keep buying his beverages close to home.

“I don’t know what I can do as a consumer — I’m not going to boycott Pepsi.”

County officials estimate the new tax will generate $200 million annually.

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