Coke County: Townships overwhelmingly reject bringing back soda tax

Coke County: Townships overwhelmingly reject bringing back soda tax

Voters across seven Cook County townships strongly oppose a return of the sweetened beverage tax.

Voters in seven Cook County townships signaled strong opposition to referendums asking if Cook County should reinstate the unpopular sweetened beverage tax, or “soda tax.”

Referendums in Schaumburg, Elk Grove, Hanover, Lemont, Palatine and Palos Townships asked voters whether Cook County should reinstate the tax, while voters in Maine Township were asked whether the county should “reject reinstating” the tax.

Across the seven townships, 4 in 5 voters opposed a return of the “soda tax,” with all precincts reported.

“Taxes like this can always rear their ugly head again,” Elk Grove Township Supervisor Mike Sweeney told the Daily Herald after the township board voted to include the referendum on the Nov. 6 ballot.

In October 2017, the Cook County Board of Commissioners voted to repeal the highly unpopular tax after pressure from taxpayers and business groups. The penny-per-ounce tax on sweetened beverages added to multiple layers of existing taxes to make the price of soda in Chicago among the highest in the nation.

Though it was marketed as a measure to improve public health, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle admitted the penny-per-ounce tax was “first and foremost” meant as a revenue generator.

Instead of seeking to raise revenue through increased taxes, Cook County politicians should address spending and look to tax relief.

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