CHICAGO (CBS) — At least one alderman has called it a sweet idea — a penny-an-ounce tax on sugary drinks — but it’s left a bad taste in the mouths of Chicago restaurants and retailers.
Ald. George Cardenas (12th), chief sponsor of the so-called “sweetened beverage tax,” said it would be easier for Chicagoans to swallow than the new $11- or $12-per-month garbage collection fees Mayor Rahm Emanuel has told aldermen he will include in his 2016 budget plan.
Cardenas chairs the City Council Health Committee, held a public hearing on the sugary drink tax on Wednesday. He has argued the tax would help combat health problems like diabetes and obesity. He has estimated it could generate $134 million in new revenue for the city, and more than replace the $100 million in garbage collection fees the mayor’s office has suggested.
The penny-an-ounce tax on sugary drinks would include soda, energy drinks, juices, and teas. Consumers would pay $1.44 more for a 12-pack of 12-ounce cans, and 66 cents more for a two-liter bottle.
The tax also would apply to fountain drinks, as well as syrups and powders used to make soda or other sugary drinks at home.
The plan has met with opposition from the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, the Illinois Restaurant Association, and the American Beverage Association.