Cook County (Chicago) Enacts 1-cent Tax on Soft Drinks

Nov. 10, 2016
Diet sodas, too, included in $75 million tax to balance county budget.

The Board of Commissioners of Cook County, which includes the city of Chicago, today (Nov. 10) passed a 1 cent per ounce tax on all soft drinks … meaning a two-liter bottle of Coke, even Diet Coke, will soon cost another 68 cents.

The vote was close, the motion passing 9-8. While the board and much of the media called it a "sugary drinks" tax meant to combat obesity, the tax also is on diet drinks and energy drinks. Pending legal challenges, the tax will go into effect July 1, 2017.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle admitted she is counting on the $75 million in annual funds to fill a budget gap. At the same meeting, the county board announced a property and sales tax freeze through 2020.

"Today, the Cook County Board of Commissioners chose to place a regressive beverage tax on working families. This will result in fewer jobs, lower incomes and higher grocery bills," said Claudia Rodriguez, spokesperson for the Cook County Coalition Against Beverage Taxes. "Consumers and small businesses will now have to pay the price and bear the burden of Cook County's budget deficit."

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