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.

   
  The Cook County Forest Preserve District maintains over 70 miles of bicycle trails.
   
     
     
     



The soda tax was repealed, but Cook County still has to find a way to fund the government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

Dart warns of 'dramatic increase' in accused gun offenders released on electronic monitors
Friday, February 23, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Anti-soda tax PAC jumps in Cook County Board races
Monday, February 19, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Wilmette minimum wage working group surveys businesses, will survey residents
Monday, February 19, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Circuit clerk gets stay on e-filing order
Friday, February 16, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Hundreds gather at Bridgeport church for Cmdr. Paul Bauer's wake
Friday, February 16, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Dart goes to court in effort to find person accusing him of domestic violence
Friday, February 16, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Study says property tax system favors rich
Friday, February 16, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Property Tax System ‘More Regressive’ in Cook County, Report Finds
Friday, February 16, 2018
WTTW Chicago Tonight

VIDEO: Cook County Jail detainees applaud CPD commander’s alleged killer
Friday, February 16, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Blockbuster report: How Cook County tax system shafts the little guy
Thursday, February 15, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

Order over lawsuits in Dorothy Brown’s office put on hold by appeals court
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Dorothy Brown can't 'end-run' First Amendment, judge says in denying delay
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County prosecutors toss more convictions tainted by corrupt ex-Chicago police Sgt. Ronald Watts
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Handwritten documents, Manila folders, carbon paper — welcome to Cook County criminal court
Monday, February 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

2 Cook County Commissioners missed over a third of Forest Preserve meetings
Sunday, February 11, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Jail guards lock down sweet union contract—despite sour budget mess
Sunday, February 11, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Running for judge, Dorothy Brown’s inspector general accepts donation from bos
Friday, February 09, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook Co. President Urges Trump To Stop ICE Arrests In Courthouses
Wednesday, February 07, 2018
Beverly Patch

Voting in Jail? New Bill Seeks to Expand Ballot Access for Detainees
Wednesday, February 07, 2018
WTTW Chicago Tonight

COOK COUNTY BOARD COMMISSIONER PROPOSES HEARING ON POLICE OVERSIGHT
Wednesday, February 07, 2018
WBEZ BGA

all news items

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