STUMP » Articles » Soda Tax Follies: Choices Have Consequences » 11 September 2017, 15:32

Where Stu & MP spout off about everything.

Soda Tax Follies: Choices Have Consequences  


11 September 2017, 15:32

The soda tax goes ever ever on….

…. but politicians may see their end in it.


County beverage tax may make pols’ re-election bids go pop, poll finds

Voters could cap the re-election bids of four Cook County commissioners over their support for the sweetened beverage tax, a new poll found.

It’s the latest in a series of We Ask America polls offering a snapshot into the unpopularity of the penny-an-ounce pop tax which took effect on August 2. The tax takes aim at sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened drinks. We Ask America is a subsidiary of the Illinois Manufacturers Association — and the IMA is an ally of the tax’s main opponent, the Illinois Retail Merchants Association.

The latest poll was conducted on August 30. Registered voters were asked whether they were more or less likely to vote for commissioners based on their vote for the Cook County Beverage Tax.

The survey comes as former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg spends millions on TV ads to support the tax. The beverage industry is also airing its own commercials against the tax. The Cook County Board of Commissioners will meet on Sept. 13, when an anti-tax proposal is expected to be heard.

That was a survey I covered before.

I have mixed feelings (no, not mixing soda syrup….get your tax-grubbing hands away from me).

In general, it’s good for career politicians to get dislodged. I decided to take a look at who these commissioners are. The Wikipedia page on the membership is pretty good.

One of the people has been there since 1986 (yikes).

Preckwinkle (on the Board since 2010) broke a tie vote:

Voting for the tax were Luis Arroyo Jr., D-Chicago; Jerry “Iceman” Butler, D-Chicago; John Daley, D-Chicago; Garcia; Edward Moody, D-Chicago Ridge; Stanley Moore, D-Chicago; Sims; and Larry Suffredin, D-Chicago.

Voting against the tax were Richard Boykin, D-Oak Park; John Fritchey, D-Chicago; Bridget Gainer, D-Chicago; Gregg Goslin, R-Glenview; Sean Morrison, R-Palos Park; Schneider; Peter Silvestri, R-Elmwood Park; and Jeffrey Tobolski, D-McCook.

Absent was Commissioner Robert Steele, D-Chicago, a Preckwinkle ally who was hospitalized earlier in the week.

Robert Steele died in June 2017 and was replaced by Dennis Deer.

So let’s see:

Arroyo – 2014
Butler – 1986
Daley – 1992
Garcia – 2010
Moody – 2016
Moore – 2013
Sims – 1994
Suffredin – 2002
and of course Preckwinkle – 2010

Here’s a graph of the yes/no votes by when they entered office.


And of course, John P. Daley is one of those Daleys. I think the Daleys have taken up enough seats in the Chicago area. It’s time for them to withdraw.


And thus the tax revenues are going to be lower than originally projected.

Cook County soda tax takes sales, jobs toll as consumers shop elsewhere

Retailers are seeing sharp declines in sales and have laid off employees as a result of Cook County’s new tax on sweetened beverages, which took effect last month.

“It’s affecting us big time,” said Bill Daker, president of Cool Mountain Beverages Inc. in Des Plaines, which markets specialty sodas in the region. “Retailers have stopped taking in any kinds of new brands.”

Daker’s company has had to lay off one driver, and one of his manufacturing partners has had three weeks of down time in the wake of the beverage tax, he told Illinois News Network.

During the first week of the tax taking effect, sales data from 21 stores in Cook County show declines of 6 percent to 39 percent. Declines in Cook County border areas are among the most pronounced, according to the Can the Tax Coalition, as many county residents seem to be opting to purchase sweetened beverages and other grocery items in neighboring counties or even Indiana. Stores in border areas have reported a jump in beverage sales.

“What we have heard from retailers across the county is that they are experiencing significant declines in beverage sales that are hitting their businesses hard,” David Goldenberg, spokesman for the Can the Tax Coalition, told Illinois News Network.

For many small, independent minimarts and corner stores, the soda tax is putting their businesses at risk of closing, Goldenberg said.

Tony’s Finer Foods, which operates 13 stores in Cook County, reported that beverage sales were down nearly 29 percent from Aug. 2 to Aug. 6, compared to a similar period in 2016, according to Can the Tax.

And Martin Sandoval, general manager of Food Market La Chiquita, has warned that sales declines could lead him to either reduce employee hours or lay off some workers.

Other retailers are scaling back their soda shelf space due to the tax, according to Daker.

Funny how that happens.


Bloomberg ready to spend ‘whatever it takes’ to help pro-pop tax pols

Michael Bloomberg’s presence — and money — will not be leaving Cook County any time soon.

The billionaire former mayor of New York City has already spent $5 million on ads supporting the Cook County sweetened beverage tax — and he’s prepared to spend “whatever it takes” to support those who voted for it, according to Howard Wolfson, a Democratic political strategist and top Bloomberg adviser.

Though the primary election for seats on the Cook County Board of Commissioners is not until March, Bloomberg and his money are here for the duration, Wolfson said.

“He is in this fight to ensure not a single person who voted for this tax is defeated. Period,” Wolfson told the Chicago Sun-Times.

A newly founded political action committee — Citizens for a More Affordable Cook County — was formed last month and has said it could fund challengers to the eight County Board commissioners who voted for the tax.

While Bloomberg is currently funding ads in broad support of the tax without singling out specific commissioners, Wolfson said that would likely change as the election draws closer.

“We will do whatever we need to do to defend them if they’re targeted,” Wolfson said of commissioners who voted in favor of the tax.

“Mike is absolutely prepared to engage in the next election cycle to defend anyone who has incurred the wrath of the industry and stood up against them and for kids.”

Wolfson called the $5 million already spent “a floor of what we would spend in the next election cycle.” When asked if there was a spending “ceiling” for the former New York mayor, Wolfson relayed:

“He says ‘I will spend what it takes in order to get the job done.’”

Hmmm, well, the real reason the Cook County soda tax is there is to raise money.

How much money did they project, again?

According to this story, they were hoping for $200 million in one fiscal year. So I guess Bloomberg doesn’t have enough money to fill that hole. Might as well throw it into the pit he’s already been throwing it into.


Seriously, this is in an ad? Not sure I want to see this ad. I’ll leave it for the next soda tax post, I guess.

Heck, can you say juice?

Ha, annoying people outside Cook County. Heck, they may live in the places benefiting from the soda tax as Cook County people go there to shop.

Yeah, that really helps bolster popularity, don’t you think?


Before this one, obviously.

Seems like it will keep going for a while.

ADDITIONAL: Mary Mitchell on the soda tax.

Maybe I shouldn’t drink pop.

Maybe I should stick to coffee or water.

But darn it, can’t a grown woman make that decision for herself without being taxed?

Although you’re more likely to find a bottle of Pinot Grigio in my grocery cart than a 2-liter bottle of Pepsi, the Sweetened Beverages Tax is getting harder to swallow.

I don’t even buy soda or live in Cook County, and I find the whole thing annoying. It’s so obviously stupid. But the ones who passed it can’t admit that it’s stupid.

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