Suffredin- Changing County Government  
 

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.

   
  Eighteen of the 20 largest banks in the world and more than 50 foreign banks have offices in Cook County.
   
     
     
     



MITCHELL: County’s soda tax is still difficult to swallow

Thursday, September 07, 2017
Chicago Sun-Times
by mary Mitchell

Sign-Up for our News & Politics Newsletter Sign-Up

Maybe I shouldn’t drink pop.

Maybe I should stick to coffee or water.

But darn it, can’t a grown woman make that decision for herself without being taxed?

Although you’re more likely to find a bottle of Pinot Grigio in my grocery cart than a 2-liter bottle of Pepsi, the Sweetened Beverages Tax is getting harder to swallow.

Retailers started collecting the $0.01 per ounce tax last month after a lawsuit against the county was dismissed.

OPINION

I resent that the county dressed up this regressive tax as a critical health issue, when the real reason for the tax is to raise revenue.

This is how cigarettes went from 60 cents in the ’60s to nearly $12 a pack today.

The heavy taxation certainly saved lives as more and more people kicked the habit.

But it also spawned an underground economy where people hustle single cigarettes — loosies — on street corners.

Ironically, really poor people using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to buy pop are not charged the county’s beverage tax.

And, yes, broke folks could skip the fizzy bottled drinks and pick up a package of Kool-Aid — the kind that requires that you add sugar.

But why would they feel good about that when the suits and pumps stop at Starbucks daily and no one is looking over their shoulders to see how much sugar is in their costly lattes.

It is also disturbing that former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is spending more than $2 million on an ad campaign to back the pop tax.

It’s his money, but I can think of a lot better ways to help the children of Chicago get healthier than tacking more taxes on their parents’ grocery bills.

Frankly, the main problem I have with the county’s Sweetened Beverage Tax is what I call the “Todd Stroger” factor.

Remember him?

County County Board President Toni Preckwinkle beat Stroger in the 2010 Democratic primary by hammering him for his 1 percentage point increase in the county portion of the sales tax.

Prior to the soda tax, the “penny-on-the-dollar” sales tax was the least popular tax. True to her word, Preckwinkle had it repealed.

However, five years after trashing Stroger on this issue, Preckwinkle pulled off the biggest political tour de force in recent years by talking the board into restoring the hated tax.

The pop tax, however, appears to have cost Preckwinkle.

A poll of 902 voters conducted last month by “We Ask America,” a subsidiary of the Illinois Manufacturers Association, found 68 percent of registered Cook County voters disapproved of Preckwinkle’s job performance and 75 percent said they likely would not vote to re-elect her.

It’s worth noting that the Illinois Manufacturers Association is an ally of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, the main opponent of the Sweetened Beverage Tax.

Still, Preckwinkle’s plunge is significant since she has been favored as the most viable candidate to challenge Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Stroger isn’t surprised that his one-time political nemesis is getting such strong blowback.

“The soda tax is like a lot of things that have happened. You tell people you are doing it for one reason and in the end it is really, I need money,” he said during a telephone interview.

“They are pushing it as a health issue, but if it were a health issue, it wouldn’t target only soda. It would target candy bars and all the other things. We are afraid to do the things we need to do and it makes us act in desperation,” he said.

Stroger said if the soda tax were truly about health, it probably would have originated out of the health system.

The soda tax “came out of the [Cook County Board] because they had $200 million hole, and had to figure out some way to pay for this,” he said.

“Do you feel vindicated?” I asked.

“I knew from the beginning we did what was needed, and I believe a lot of people also believed that. I knew they couldn’t function. I wouldn’t call it vindication. It was just showing this actually made sense,” he said.

Meanwhile, he’s watching this latest political drama unfold on Facebook.

“I’ve seen people that are as apolitical as they get and they are making posts showing their receipts and the [total] tax is 2/3 of the price of the whole bill. I can see this becoming a real revolt.

So go ahead. Take a big gulp.

 

Just know that’s really what Cook County government is counting on.




Recent Headlines

Preckwinkle, Evans end budget battle
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

Troubled detainee at center of unusual court fight between Loyola hospital, Cook County
Monday, July 16, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Commissioners Confounded by Hiring of Health System Consultant
Monday, July 16, 2018
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

Doctor fired by Cook County medical examiner now under the microscope in Indiana
Sunday, July 15, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

County officials defend Forest Preserves police in wake of man harassing woman over Puerto Rican flag shirt
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Familiar questions about ‘bystander effect’ arise after man berates woman for Puerto Rico shirt
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Berrios' analysts used Zillow, other shortcuts in assessing property values, documents show
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Northbrook to revisit Cook County paid sick leave policy after opting out last year
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Forest Preserves officials discuss officer's resignation
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Amid video fallout, Cook County Forest Preserve District reveals fatal crash involving worker and governmental truck
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Transformation in the outdoors
Friday, July 13, 2018
Special to suffredin.org

Forest preserve cop resigns after apparently failing to help woman being harassed over Puerto Rico shirt
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

5 things: A civics lesson on Puerto Rico after man rants about woman's flag T-shirt, questions citizenship
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Commissioners: Get Rid of Forest Preserve Police
Thursday, July 12, 2018
WTTW Chicago Tonight

Schneider wants hearing over fatal crash blamed on Cook forest preserve driver
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Daily Herald

Man who harassed woman for Puerto Rican flag shirt charged with hate crime
Thursday, July 12, 2018
WLS ABC 7 Chicago

EDITORIAL: A judge drops a gun on a courthouse floor. So much for respect for the law
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Forest preserve officer who didn't help woman in Puerto Rican flag shirt 'tarnished the whole department,' commissioner says
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Preckwinkle apologizes to woman berated by man at forest preserve for wearing Puerto Rican flag shirt
Tuesday, July 10, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Video appears to show forest preserves officer failing to help woman being harassed for wearing shirt with Puerto Rican flag design
Tuesday, July 10, 2018
Chicago Tribune

all news items

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