Cook County Commissioner John Daley, the Chairman of the Finance Committee for the county, has informed Board President Toni Preckwinkle that he will vote for the repeal of the controversial sweetened beverage tax.
Daley, who was one of eight commissioners that helped pass the measure earlier this year, says that his constituents resoundingly came out against the tax, and that he must honor their wishes as he represents them on the board.
“I’ve never had so many reach out to me before,” he said. "I have heard overwhelmingly from my district that they are opposed to this tax."
The vote to repeal the measure is scheduled for next week, and Daley’s reversal of position could spell the end of the tax that has ginned up controversy since it went into effect this summer.
In order for the repeal effort to be successful, 11 commissioners will have to vote against it. Any fewer than that, and Preckwinkle has the power to veto the measure.
One county board member will not be flipping his vote: former mayoral candidate Jesus "Chuy" Garcia.
"If we lose this source of revenue, we're going to have a significant crisis in basic services in Cook County," he said.
When the tax originally passed, eight commissioners voted for it and eight voted against it, with Preckwinkle casting the tiebreaking vote to pass the measure.
On Thursday, Preckwinkle once again reiterated her warning that massive budget cuts and layoffs could result if the tax is repealed, with an 11 percent cut across the board currently on the table if the measure is overturned next week.
The repeal vote is scheduled for Oct. 10.