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Retail group drops lawsuit against Cook County soda pop tax after its repeal

Thursday, October 19, 2017
Chicago Tribune
by Ally Marotti

In light of the repeal of Cook County’s short-lived soda tax, a group of retailers is dropping a lawsuit that delayed the implementation of the penny-per-ounce charge.

The Illinois Retail Merchants Association filed the suit against the county in Cook County Circuit Court in June, alleging the tax was unconstitutional and vague. It fueled the conflict between retailers and the county leading up to the tax’s original July 1 implementation date, just before the Fourth of July weekend.

Ultimately, the suit delayed the tax rollout by about a month. After a circuit court judge allowed the tax to take effect, the retailers filed an appeal.

“Our first priority was to ensure consumers and retailers would not be saddled with this tax,” Rob Karr, the group’s president and CEO, said in a statement. He also thanked the county officials who last week voted to repeal the tax.

The beverage industry spent millions fighting the tax, which applies to both sugar- and artificially sweetened drinks. Many Cook County retailers and restaurants also fought the tax after watching customers leave the county for their pop purchases.

As of Dec. 1, the tax will no longer be collected.

amarotti@chicagotribune.



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