Cook County commissioners urged to consider whether soda tax is needed
The Better Government Association urged Cook County commissioners to exercise due diligence in determining whether the controversial soda tax should be repealed.
The 1-cent-per-ounce tax took effect in August after clearing a final legal hurdle, according to CNN Money.com.
BGA writer Andy Shaw pointed out that while proponents defend the measure because it could help protect consumers’ health, the tax avoids penalizing juice, ice cream and other sweetened products that could be just as unhealthy.
Shaw says Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle defends the tax she championed by claiming it will fund city infrastructure projects and protect the jobs of medical and legal staff.
However, Shaw cites two other Chicago politicians, U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) and Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin, who argue that the unpopular tax is unnecessary. Quigley is quoted as saying that following more of the money-saving strategies he proposed a decade ago would negate the need for the new tax. Boykin, a rival for Preckwinkle's job, says a hiring freeze, cutting overtime pay and other methods could replace the lost revenue from repealing the tax.
Shaw urged the 17 commissioners to “do their homework –crunch numbers, weigh options, listen to stakeholders and ask questions – before making a fair and defensible decision that reflects the good government we’re entitled to.”