Possible Soda Tax Showdown On The Horizon

CHICAGO (CBS) — The new soda tax is the county tax that everyone seems to know and love — or hate.

Some lawmakers are poised to try and ‘can’ the entire thing, and, as CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports, ads supporting it aren’t changing people’s minds.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has spent $5 million blanketing Chicago with ads that support Cook County’s sweetened beverage tax in the name of health. A new poll, however, suggests that his efforts may have backfired.

“I think Michael Bloomberg’s ads are insulting to the residents of Cook County,” said Brian Jordan, president of the Illinois Food Retailers Association, which represents 200 independent and family-owned stores.

The tax isn’t only unpopular among store managers. Six weeks in, they say soda sales continue to fall.

“In this store, we were down I think about 27 percent. In another store, we were down about 30-31 percent,” said Martin Sandoval, the general manager of Food Market La Chiquita.

But business and tax advocates, such as Cook County Board president Toni Preckwinkle, are relying on the extra $17 million a month to balance county finances.

Still, some commissioners, like Richard Boykin, are ready to bring its repeal up for discussion, and even a vote, on Wednesday. Boykin says he knows there are at least eight votes that are ready to repeal, adding, ‘All I need is one more.”

Boykin said he believes there is a 50/50 chance there will be repeal vote Wednesday, as opposed to it going to committee. However, if it does go to committee, that would allow people time to work out a deal to both repeal and keep the county in the black.

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