Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
  Cook County Hospital fills more outpatient prescriptions every day than are filled at 26 Walgreen's drug store combined.
   
     
     
     



The soda tax was repealed, but Cook County still has to find a way to fund the government

Sunday, October 15, 2017
Chicago Reader
by Ben Joravsky

In the wake of today's repeal of the Cook County soda tax, I'd like to give a shout-out to the Cook County Board commissioner who's been speaking the most sensibly on the issue of the county's need to pay its bills.

That would be Larry Suffredin, the pride and joy of Evanston. He was one of two commissioners who, in a 15-2 vote, decided against a repeal; the other was Jerry "Iceman" Butler.

So come on down, Larry, and get your prize—a two-liter bottle of Mountain Dew! Soon to be soda-tax free!

The debate all began last November when Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle twisted enough arms to round up the eight votes she needed to get the board to slap a penny-per-ounce tax on sweetened beverages sold in the county. The Illinois Retail Merchants Association delayed the tax's imposition with a lawsuit that ultimately failed. So it wasn't until August when I got to watch another rendition of one of my favorite moments: Local residents waking up to realize that while they were busy not paying attention, their government was up to no good.

In this case it was more like, Omigod, soda costs more! Gatorade, too?! That's an outrage!

Man, Chicagoans—and Cook Countians—are a trip. Torturing suspects in the basement of police departments? "Where's my remote control?" But tax their soda? "This is war!"

I admit I'm all over the map on the soda tax. On the one hand, I realize it costs money to run courthouses, jails, hospitals, and other county operations.

So we've got to tax something.

On the other hand, why put the tax burden on the poor? It doesn't get much more regressive than a tax on sweetened beverages, which hits everyone the same no matter how much you make.

But we're apparently incapable of imposing a graduated income tax—with the added revenues helping to fund county operations. So we're stuck with the flat state income tax.

The state can't get it together to create a LaSalle Street transaction tax. And it's too cautious to legalize marijuana and tax that. Meanwhile the county's too chicken to raise property taxes. As much as I bitch and moan about paying them, I must concede the property tax is less regressive than a tax on beverages. So here we are—stuck with regressive taxes like soda.

Once she realized she'd ignited a Big Soda-abetted tax revolt, Preckwinkle changed the subject. She started talking about how the soda tax was really a public health initiative to get people to stop drinking sugary beverages.

But even voters in Cook County were smart enough to see through that spin. If the tax works and convinces people to stop buying unhealthy drinks, the tax yield would steadily fall—and in a matter of years the county would be again looking for money to fund government.

At Tuesday's hearing, Suffredin pointed out that the county—soda tax or no soda tax—has to find a sustainable way to pay its bills. But his colleagues didn't seem to want to hear it. With the primary season just around the bend, their main objective was to undo the tax before it threatened their reelection.

Sooner or later something's gotta give. Government will either go bankrupt—which seems to be Governor Rauner's plan—or we're going to have to find the will or courage to pass a more progressive tax.

The attitude of state, county, and city officials toward funding government reminds me of those Hollywood players who chose to ignore evidence that Harvey Weinstein allegedly was sexually abusing women.

Denial may enable us to avoid upsetting confrontations, but only for so long.



Recent Headlines

Measles Exposure Reported in Chicago
Monday, May 20, 2019
WTTW News

System News
Friday, May 17, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County Health Recognizes Mental Health Awareness Month
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Daily Herald

Skokie plans for road improvements near Edens Expressway: 'It’s desperately needed'
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Skokie Review

5 Chicago hospitals earn D grades for patient safety in new report, Northwestern slips to a B
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Chicago Daily Law Bulletin: Backward Glances
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Cook County Eliminated Its Gang Database, But Advocates Say Harm Continues
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
WBEZ News

New Cook County Housing Authority Proposal Targets the 'Missing Middle'
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Evanston RoundTable

Census Citizenship Question Could Hurt Citizens, Noncitizens Alike
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

News from Friends of the Forest Preserves
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County commissioners get earful about soon-to-be-destroyed gang database
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Detainee dies days after suicide attempt at Cook County jail
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Curious City How Chicago Women Created The World’s First Juvenile Justice System
Monday, May 13, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

Cook County report: Sharp drop in jail population, but crime did not jump
Friday, May 10, 2019
Injustice Watch

Will Cook County be home to the next big measles outbreak? Researchers think so.
Friday, May 10, 2019
Chicago Tribune

May is Prime Time for Birding in the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Thursday, May 09, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

More Babies Are Illegally Abandoned Than Turned Over Through Illinois’ Safe Haven Law In Cook County
Thursday, May 09, 2019
CBS Chicago

Empty businesses may lose county tax incentives
Wednesday, May 08, 2019
Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle

As new DCFS report highlights failures, Cook County guardian says 'inept' child welfare agency is ‘not doing its job ... at every level’
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County passes bill to stop discrimination against tenant applicants
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Chicago Crusader

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP