CHICAGO (CBS) — This is not some little tax you will not notice.
Quenching your thirst will shrink your wallet. And the county hopes it will shrink your waistline too.
A penny-an-ounce tax on sugary and artificially sweetened drinks has been adopted by the Cook County Board of Commissioners in Chicago, CBS 2’s Derrick Blakely reports.
The tax will raise the cost of a 2-liter bottle by 68 cents, a 6-can pack by 72 cents.
Advocates claim health benefits, but critics called that a sham.
“This is not reducing obesity and curbing diabetes,” said Commissioner Richard Boykin. “Let’s call it what it is. This is about plugging the budget deficit.”
Beverage makers said the tax will cost jobs and retailers claim shoppers who can, will cross the border.
“If they do not increase it say, in Lake County, our concern is our customers here can say we can drive five minutes down the highway and go grocery shopping there,” said Michael Svigos, Fresh Farms Market.
The board deadlocked eight-to-eight, even some democrats warning of a growing, Trump-like tax revolt.
“I had over 1,000 phone calls into my district office,” said Commissioner Jeff Tobolski. “People specifically identifying themselves, saying, if you support this, I cannot support you.”
County Board President Toni Preckwinkle cast the tie-breaking vote for the tax. WBBM’s Craig Dellimore reports.
Preckwinkle said raising revenue isn’t her first choice, but money is needed to prevent cuts to the county’s criminal justice and health care systems.
The beverage tax will provide more than $220-million a year, needed, said Preckwinkle, to avoid public safety layoffs.
The only sweetener here: With this latest levy, Preckwinkle said the county will be able to avoid any more tax hikes for three years.