The state of Chicago has repealed the soda tax after only two months.
The short-lived tax existed to battle obesity, but it was repealed after voters noted that the idea would hurt low-income families. A Cook County — Chicago and many suburban areas — board committee voted 15-2 to repeal the tax, which charged individuals a penny per ounce of pop.
Store owners, drink companies and bottlers all battled the tax. Supporters of the tax claimed that it would’ve raised $200 million in the 2018 fiscal year budget, beginning Dec. 1. They also said that the tax would’ve helped combat sugary beverages.
“This shows that momentum is swinging against beverage taxes,” said William Dermody, vice president of media and public affairs at the American Beverage Association, a representative of soda companies who fought the tax. “Beverage taxes are really a money grab that has nothing to do with public health.”
Opponents of the tax said that it violated Illinois law as it did not apply evenly to all beverages.
The budget cut caused by the repeal tax could amount to 11%, causing a lot of layoffs in order to cut costs. Board President Toni Preckwinkle is considering his options, including vetoing the repeal.
Cook County was the sixth county in the country to tax sodas and other sweetened beverages, while Philadelphia, Berkeley, Calif. and Boulder, Colo. San Francisco and Seattle will impose similar taxes Jan. 1.