Cook County's new tax on sweetened beverages went into effect Wednesday morning.
Beginning at midnight, the controversial tax on sugary drinks rolled out across the county following weeks of arguments in and out of court.
The measure was originally supposed to be implemented on July 1, but its rollout was delayed after opponents filed a lawsuit against the proposal, ultimately resulting in more than 300 county employees being given layoff notices.
Judge Daniel Kubasiak lifted the temporary restraining order that halted the measure on Friday, with collection slated to begin Wednesday.
The new tax will collect an extra penny per ounce of any drink sweetened with sugar or a substitute sold in Cook County, and is expected to raise $67.5 million in new revenue by Nov. 30, according to county estimates. [[430937033, C]]
The cost to consumers will be 12 cents per can of soda and 67 cents per two-liter bottle, with the revenue helping to fund services, including health care, as the county faces a budget deficit of nearly $174.3 million.
Now, as stores prepare to charge the new tax, employees are tasked with ensuring cash registers are updated and ready to make the shift.
"I’ve got about two or three employees, for the last two or three days, that that’s been their full time job," said Marty Sandoval, who owns the La Chiquita grocery and restaurant on Pulaski.
Sandoval said he's also apprehensive of the drop in sales for the three of his four stores located in Cook County.
"I don’t know what the sales drop will be," he said. "I know there will be a sales drop... That’s going to be tough on us."