Suffredin- An Advocate for All of Us  
 

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:  
   
 
 

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

   
 

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

   
  Last year more people used the County's forest preserves than visited Yellowstone National Park.
   
     
     
     



Reaction to the soda tax is overblown

Friday, August 18, 2017
Crain's Chicago Business
by Marilyn Katz

As both a Cook County resident and an observer of city and county politics, I find the flap about the soda tax a bit confusing. Granted, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle could, and should, have done a better job of defending it—citing, perhaps, the cost of obesity for both individuals and the county in terms of diabetes and all the other well-documented health problems that accrue from imbibing large amounts of sugary drinks.

Read more: Our 2-cents on Preckwinkle's soda tax

Sign up for the free Today's Crain's newsletter

That said, the outrage expressed seems strange compared to other far more odious taxes imposed on us the past seven years. Over that time, Chicago and Cook County have imposed a spate of new steep taxes and fees, and not on personal choices of life but on the fundamentals. These include increases in fees on phone service, computer service, water and sewer service, garbage pick-up, cable services—all of which, according to a 2014 Tribune article, added up to a total of an estimated nearly $500 per year per household. And that was before the monthly garbage fee went into effect!

Even though tax increases on the necessities of life have been levied on every household in Chicago—regardless of anyone's income or ability to pay them—most passed with little or no protest from either lawmakers or the media.

Yes, the largest single increase in taxes was imposed on cigarettes, which are now around $7 per pack. I am a smoker, and yet I think that's fair, despite the fact that it falls most heavily on lower income folks as studies show they are more likely to smoke than their upper-income counterparts. Still, cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco all have both a personal and societal cost—and imbibing them is a matter of choice, not necessity.

Read more: Here's what's in that Bloomberg ad defending the pop tax

 

So why the outsized ire on the soda tax? Is it the lobbying of the powerful beverage and retail merchants association who consistently lobby against any progressive legislation that raises wages or lowers waste? Is it jockeying for position in preparation for the 2018 elections by would-be rivals eager to tarnish on of the state's most respected politicians?

Whatever the reasons behind the super-sized reaction to the tax, it seems to me that both politicians and the media should save their fire for the taxes and fees on services that are fundamental to life, rather than the ones that encourage healthier behavior and lower social costs. Just saying.

Marilyn Katz is an essayist, political activist and president of MK Communications, a public strategies communications firm.

 

 



Recent Headlines

Cook County board to vote on new budget today
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
WGN Channel 9

Preckwinkle agrees to fewer Cook County job cuts; hundreds of layoffs still in works
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Teamsters Local 700 Files for Temporary Restraining Order Against Cook County Merit Board
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Special to suffredin.org

How Cook County finally got a new budget
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Crain's Chicago Business

ONTIVEROS: I think I miss that soda pop tax
Monday, November 20, 2017
Chicago Sun-Times

Budget Cuts Expected For Cook County Public Guardian’s Office
Monday, November 20, 2017
CBS Chicago

Ex-Cook County Board President Todd Stroger says he's running again
Monday, November 20, 2017
Chicago Tribune

More than 300 Cook County employees will lose jobs to balance budget
Monday, November 20, 2017
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Jail Population Down 15 Percent After Bond Reforms
Monday, November 20, 2017
WTTW Chicago Tonight

Stroger vs. Preckwinkle: Hide your wallets.
Monday, November 20, 2017
Chicago Tribune

After momentous week, prosecutor Kim Foxx says 'we have to right wrongs'
Monday, November 20, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Police union president slams Foxx, prosecutors after exonerations
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Chicago Sun-Times

MIHALOPOULOS: Will pop-tax anger unseat Preckwinkle, or fizzle out?
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Chicago Sun-Times

After Warning of 'Painful Cuts,' Preckwinkle to Unveil 2018 Budget Amendment
Friday, November 17, 2017
NBC Chicago

Watchdog: Quit stalling on Cook County justice system data
Friday, November 17, 2017
Crain's Chicago Business

The Week in Review: Record Wave of Exonerations Tied to Rogue Cop
Friday, November 17, 2017
WTTW Chicago Tonight

Preckwinkle, some commissioners say enough votes for amended budget
Friday, November 17, 2017
Chicago Sun-Times

Preckwinkle: Nothing Pleasant About Hundreds Of Layoffs
Friday, November 17, 2017
CBS Chicago

Cook County commissioners get behind Preckwinkle's budget cuts
Friday, November 17, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Chuy Garcia Sole Cook County Commissioner Iffy on Budget
Friday, November 17, 2017
WTTW Chicago Tonight

all news items

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