• Katie Nork

New Cook County Sugary Beverage Tax

Photo courtesy of CNN Money

That Super Big Gulp isn’t going to cost you $1.59 in Cook County anymore. But don’t get your hopes up that 7-11 reduced their prices… they didn’t. Cook County just approved a one cent per ounce tax on all sugary beverages, so now you’ll be dishing out a little over $2.00 for your favorite Super Big Gulp.

On Thursday, the Cook County Board of Commissioners voted to pass the heavy tax on all sugary and artificially sweetened drinks by a 9-8 margin. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said of the tax, “This sweetened beverage tax provides important revenue that will allow us to avoid damaging cuts in the funding for public health and public safety. It also puts us on a stable financial footing for the next three fiscal years during which we will not have to approve any additional tax increases and allow us to double our investment in community-based anti-violence initiatives.” She also said that the tax would have a positive impact on health issues like obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

The sugary beverage tax is estimated to bring in around $224 million each year. The tax will go into effect on July 1 of 2017.

This isn’t Preckwinkle’s first time raising taxes in Cook County. She has raised the sales tax in Cook County, approved a one percent tax on hotel stays and now the sugary beverage tax. She has promised that she will not enact any new taxes in 2018 and 2019 to help calm the backlash she will get from this new sugary beverage tax.

The tax hasn’t been accepted by everyone though. The American Beverage Association has about $600,000 to spend to oppose the tax. Retailers say that the tax will harm their bottom lines.

Cook County isn’t the only place to have a tax on sugary beverages. Philadelphia approved a similar tax earlier this year and San Francisco, Oakland and Albany, California and Boulder, Colorado all voted in a sugary beverage tax on Election Day.

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