Soda Tax to Hit Wallets Aug. 2: Preckwinkle

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

Cook County's proposed tax on sugary beverages will soon go into effect after a judge on Friday lifted the temporary restraining order that halted the measure. 

County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said in a statement "the tax should be collected at the consumer level beginning on Aug 2."

The decision by Judge Daniel Kubasiak came as he was slated to issue a final ruling on whether a lawsuit against the proposed tax would be dismissed. The ruling offered no timeline on when the temporary restraining order would be lifted, but said that decision would be up to the county. 

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 28. That resulted in more than 300 employees being given layoff notices, 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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