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Oct 13, 2017 1:24:16 AM
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[USA] Chicago-Area Soda Tax Repealed Despite Billionaire Bloomberg's Ad Buys (2017-10-11)

The Cook County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday voted to repeal a controversial penny-per-ounce soda tax after a public outcry and intense lobbying by Chicago’s business community.

The vote comes despite a recent multi-million-dollar advertising blitz in the Chicago media market by billionaire businessman Michael Bloomberg to save the Cook County “sweetened beverage tax.” Bloomberg, while mayor of New York, was unsuccessful in banning super-sized sugary drinks in the city.

The Cook County Board voted 15-2 to overturn the tax, according to The Chicago Sun-Times. That vote followed a vote against the tax earlier this week by the Cook County Finance Committee, which is chaired by John Daley, the brother of the former powerful Chicago Mayor, Richard M. Daley.

John Daley changed his position on the tax after what the Sun-Times described as "huge public pressure — including an expensive campaign by soft-drink companies and strong criticism from business interests in the county."

 

 

Bloomberg’s support of the soda tax was designed to “counter the one-sided advertising from the soda industry,” he said before launching a Labor Day weekend barrage of ads.

“Beverage companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars to advertise unhealthy drinks, and children and teens remain key target audiences for that advertising, all while knowing that 40 percent of children will develop Type 2 diabetes in their lifetimes,” Bloomberg said in a statement.

But the tide of disapproval and a successful campaign against the tax outweighed the potential for cuts to public health services. The tax will sunset on Nov. 30, which is the end of the Cook County budget fiscal year.

 

 

The tax took effect this past summer following court delays and a legal challenge by the manufacturers’ lobby that temporarily delayed its implementation. The tax was projected to bring in nearly $70 million to Cook County coffers this year and $200 million more in 2018.

 


In Cook County, which includes Chicago and its nearby suburbs, the tax hasn’t been popular among retailers, convenience stores and some merchants.

 


The Illinois Manufacturers Association released a poll showing “nearly 87% of a random sample of likely votes” disapprove of the soda tax.

The business lobby said “the tax not only is burdensome for consumers, it reinforces Cook County’s reputation as a difficult place to conduct business.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucejapsen/2017/10/11/chicago-area-soda-tax-repealed-despite-billionaire-bloombergs-ad-buys/#5070947c4836