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.

   
  Cook County has the largest unified trial court system in the world, disposing over 6 million cases in 1990 alone.
   
     
     
     



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

EDITORIAL: Foxx should steer clear of donations from property tax lawyers
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Restoration on Cook County Hospital could begin this summer
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Curbed Chicago

26 inmates charged with violence toward guards at Cook County Jail
Saturday, January 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County assessor not cooperating with investigation, IG complains
Saturday, January 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

WASHINGTON: County repeal of soda tax was a mortal mistake
Friday, January 12, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

SNEED EXCLUSIVE: Developer plans to make old county hospital a community anchor
Friday, January 12, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Western Springs Board reconsiders opting out of county minimum wage law
Friday, January 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Why more Chicago hospitals are getting into the housing business
Thursday, January 11, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

Chicago hospitals help lower health care bills by housing the homeless
Thursday, January 11, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Dorothy Brown runs out of excuses on e-filing
Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Ethics board fines Cook County assessor $41,000 over political donations from lawyers
Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Chicago Tribune

County wants seniors to confirm they’re still seniors
Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Evanston Now

Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown ordered to improve public access to electronic records
Tuesday, January 09, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Foxx focuses on ‘bigger picture’ in first year as state’s attorney
Tuesday, January 09, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

As disparity in water rates persists, Cook County Board searches for answers
Tuesday, January 09, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Kim Foxx Concerned With ‘Justice, Not Convictions’
Monday, January 08, 2018
CBS Chicago

Foxx on hiring of outside lawyers by top aide: 'We're going to look at it from soups to nuts'
Monday, January 08, 2018
Chicago Fox 32

Interim chief supervision, probation officer named
Friday, January 05, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Roseland Community Hospital lays off 7 percent of staff, cuts pay
Friday, January 05, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Lake County spent $4.9 million on uncompleted e-filing system, records show
Thursday, January 04, 2018
Chicago Tribune

all news items

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