CHICAGO (CBS) — Cook County’s sweetened beverage tax becomes history at midnight, and store managers and shoppers alike are pleased.
Whether they admit to drinking pop or not, shoppers say they are happy to see the tax die. One woman says she can now stop going out of her way to purchase soda.
“I have been going to Lake County to pay, and I hate taking business away from local stores by my house,” she said.
Cook County officials are also among those happy to see the tax go.
Commissioner Richard Boykin said, “tomorrow is a new day in Cook County, and all 5.2 million residents can celebrate their newfound independence from the sweetened beverage tax.” He went on to say that unlike the state of Illinois or the City of Chicago, Cook County balanced its budget without increasing taxes. Boykin called this a “momentous accomplishment.”
The Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA) also issued a statement ahead of the expiration:
“On behalf of the retail community and the consumers they serve on a daily basis, we are thankful the day has finally arrived when the sweetened beverage tax repeal takes effect. Due to the widespread public outrage, consumers will once again be able to choose to purchase these products in Cook County without the burden of this tax,” said Rob Karr, president and CEO, IRMA.
In a near-unanimous vote, the Cook County Finance Committee approved to repeal the controversial tax in October. Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin was the only member of the Board to vote against the proposal to eliminate it.
The commissioners who voted to repeal the tax included: Luis Arroyo Jr. (D-Chicago); Richard Boykin (D-Oak Park); John Daley (D-Chicago); Dennis Deer (D-Chicago); John Fritchey (D-Chicago); Bridget Gainer (D-Chicago); Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Chicago); Gregg Goslin (R-Glenview); Stanley Moore (D-Chicago); Edward Moody (D-Chicago Ridge); Sean Morrison (R-Palos Park); Tim Schneider (R-Bartlett); Peter Silvestri (R-Elmwood Park); Deborah Sims (D-Chicago); and Jeffrey Tobolski (D-McCook). Commissioner Jerry Butler (D-Chicago) was absent.
The County stopped collecting the penny-an-ounce tax on sweetened beverages as of Thursday.