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Cook County Soda Tax Goes Into Effect Wednesday

Retailers across the Chicago area continue to make last-minute preparations before Cook County's tax on sweetened beverages goes into effect Wednesday.

The measure was originally supposed to be implement on July 1, but its rollout was delayed after opponents filed a lawsuit against the proposal. 

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.

The tax was put on hold June 30, with the restraining order extended for a month, resulting in more than 300 employees being given layoff notices, according to Cook County Board President Preckwinkle. 

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."

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