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Judge Again Extends Temporary Restraining Order Blocking Soda Tax

The new tax, which was set to take effect July 1, would raise $67.5 million in new revenue for the county by Nov. 30, according to county estimates

A judge on Friday again extended a temporary restraining order blocking Cook County's proposed tax on sugary beverages.

The order was extended to July 28, when the judge said he will issue a final ruling. 

The new tax, originally set to take effect July 1, was slated to tack on an extra penny per ounce of any drink sweetened with sugar or a substitute sold in Cook County. It was expected to raise $67.5 million in new revenue by Nov. 30, according to county estimates. 

The tax was put on hold June 30, though, after Illinois merchants won a temporary restraining order that an appellate court refused to overturn. The county filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

The judge, citing questions about the tax's impact on consumers, set an original court date of July 12, but the restraining order was extended until July 21. That resulted in more than 300 employees being given layoff notices last week, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said.

"Today we regrettably laid off more than 300 employees as a result of the County's budget crisis," Preckwinkle said in a statement. "The personnel actions are necessary to address an approximately $68 million gap in our FY2017 that is directly related to the Illinois Retail Merchants Association's lawsuit and Temporary Restraining Order that prohibits us from collecting the Sweetened Beverage Tax."

Thirty-nine employees were given layoff notices at the State's Attorney's office as well. 

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