After sustained, widespread outrage from both businesses and consumers, the Cook County soda tax finally met its end. In a victory for small businesses and consumers, the Cook County Board of Commissioners has voted 15-2 to roll back the tax, effective as soon as Dec. 1.
The sugary drink tax was reviled by both consumers and retailers who reported lost sales. A concerted effort by business groups pushed back hard after initial passage and losses mounted as consumers crossed into neighboring counties to buy their favorite beverages. Cook County commissioners started taking significant heat from constituents who saw this as an unfair and regressive tax hurting the lower income residents the most.
The penny-per-ounce tax on soda and other sweetened beverages was passed in November 2016 and went into effect on Aug. 2. It was embattled from the beginning, with the Can the Tax Coalition pushing for a repeal and a group of Illinois state lawmakers introducing legislation that would prohibit localities from implementing soda taxes.