House Democrats file bill to repeal Cook County soda tax

House Democrats file bill to repeal Cook County soda tax

House Bill 4083 is the second bill in the Illinois General Assembly to propose getting rid of Cook County’s unpopular soda tax.

A group of Illinois Democratic lawmakers are taking on Cook County’s soda tax. A bill filed in the House of Representatives Aug. 15 marks the second proposal in the Illinois General Assembly to do away with Cook County’s sweetened beverage tax.

House Bill 4083 would ban any home rule county or non-home rule county from taxing the use, sale or purchase of sweetened beverages by weight or volume. HB 4083 would also nullify the controversial Cook County sweetened beverage tax that’s already in effect.

State Rep. Michelle Mussman, D-Schaumburg, filed the bill and serves as its primary sponsor. Momentum for HB 4083 grew after its first reading, gaining bipartisan support. State Reps. Mike Zalewski, D-Riverside; Martin Moylan, D-Des Plaines; and David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, have been made chief co-sponsors. The bill’s co-sponsors include: state Reps. Jaime Andrade Jr., D-Chicago; Kelly Burke, D-Evergreen Park; Will Davis, D-Homewood; Thaddeus Jones, D-Calumet City; Silvana Tabares, D-Chicago; Kathleen Willis, D-Addison; Linda Chapa LaVia, D-Aurora; Emanuel Chris Welch, D-Hillside; Fred Crespo, D-Hoffman Estates; Sue Scherer, D-Decatur; Cynthia Soto, D-Chicago; David Olsen, R-Downers Grove; Allen Skillicorn, R-East Dundee; and Rita Mayfield, D-Waukegan.

Mussman and most of the bill’s co-sponsors represent districts in Cook County.

Mussman’s bill is similar to a Republican proposal that was filed the same day as HB 4083. House Bill 4082, filed by state Rep. Michael McAuliffe, R-Chicago, would ban home rule counties from taxing sweetened beverages by volume. But unlike Mussman’s proposal, HB 4082 does not stop non-home rule counties from taxing sweetened beverages by volume. HB 4082 also does not explicitly mention weight in its language.

Democrats at the county level are also going after the tax. Cook County Commissioners John Fritchey, D-12th District; Richard Boykin, D-1st District; and Jeffrey R. Tobolski, D-16th District, have co-sponsored a proposal filed by Commissioner Sean Morrison, R-17th District, to repeal the sweetened beverage tax.

Mussman’s proposal is understandable, as Cook County’s sweetened beverage tax is wildly unpopular. A poll commissioned by the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association shows 87 percent of likely voters disapprove of the sweetened beverage tax, and 80 percent of respondents believe the tax was imposed to raise revenue and not to improve public health.

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