A beverage tax was passed by the Cook County Board on Nov. 10 as a key element to fund the Cook County 2017 budget. This new tax would add one penny for every one ounce of a beverage drink which means an additional $2.88 for a 24-pack of beverage drinks.
I appreciate the fact that many Cook County constituents have paid close attention to Cook County’s 2017 budget process and specifically this tax proposal as hundreds contacted my office to express their opposition to this tax.
Contrary to most public headlines that call it just a “soda tax,” that couldn’t be further from the truth. This massive and expansive tax includes a list of nearly 1,000 individual beverages including fruit juices, teas, coffees, energy and sports drinks, enhanced waters, sodas and diet sodas. This beverage tax goes too far by hitting our residents too hard in their pocketbooks, especially Chicago residents, and hurts our local businesses.
I firmly opposed this heavy-handed tax for multiple reasons. First, the tax purposely singles out a specific private sector industry and is too expansive and creates a revenue stream that goes far beyond the means it is intended to serve.
Second, there is still too much redundant and unnecessary spending and political clout jobs that could be cut from the 2017 budget before looking at additional taxes to fix budget shortfalls. Third, this tax will cause further damage to private sector jobs in exchange for protecting government patronage jobs. Fourth, it further places Cook County businesses at a competitive disadvantage against our neighboring counties and the state of Indiana when just a short commute to shop across the border means lost customers and lost revenue for Cook County.
Once again, Cook County government is committing itself to another horrible tax policy which will add more long term damage to our local economy.
Sean M. Morrison, Cook County commissioner