Chicago Soda Tax Repealed After Epic Failure

The Chicago area soda tax was voted out on Tuesday by the Finance Committee of the Cook County Board of Commissioners. The finance committee voted to scrap the tax by the first of December.

The controversial tax was defended as a way of discouraging people from drinking sugary sodas. The penny-per-ounce tax met strong resistance from store owners across the city. Obviously, the so-called goal of reducing obesity wasn’t met. Some politicians rely on the naivete from their supporters to get people behind their money-grabbing schemes.

Although some health organizations supported the soda tax, Politifact reported that evidence that the tax could curb soda consumption is “scarce.” Obviously, the tax does hurt consumers, but doesn’t curb purchases. The government, also, has no business taxing sugar. Some gullible Democrats actually believe that the government is taking your money to make you healthier.

The Chicago Sun Times reports on the end of this stupid scheme:

With a 15-1 vote, the Finance Committee of the Cook County Board of Commissioners sent the sweetened beverage tax swirling toward the drain on Tuesday, setting in motion a likely repeal of the controversial penny-per-ounce tax on soda and other sugary drinks.

After nearly five hours of public comment — featuring Cook County Clerk David Orr, Clerk of the Circuit Court Dorothy Brown and Public Defender Amy Campanelli — the committee voted to sunset the tax by Dec. 1.

The only nay vote on the repeal came from Larry Suffredin (D-Evanston).

The committee’s decision precedes a vote by the full Board on Wednesday. But the full board comprises the same commissioners eligible to vote Tuesday.

In a statement, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle expressed “disappointment in today’s outcome.”

“Today the board exercised its collective will and set in motion a repeal of the sweetened beverage tax we approved last year,” Preckwinkle said. “As I outlined last week, it is up to the commissioners to choose our direction on revenue, and I respect their authority to do so.”

The tax has been controversial since it was narrowly passed by the board after Preckwinkle cast the deciding vote when commissioners deadlocked on the measure.

A bipartisan deal to rescind the tax was announced last Friday.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said he was “disappointed” in Tuesday’s vote. Preckwinkle, after all, cast the deciding vote when the commission became deadlocked on the decision.

Preckwinkle has left issues of revenue up to the commission, and with the latest vote, it looks like he’ll have to put his weight behind some other scheme to suck money from the public’s pockets.

Luckily, this time, it didn’t work out for him.

The Sun Times continues:

Dueling ad campaigns have argued that the tax is either an onerous burden on consumers that is hurting small businesses, or a way to provide desperately needed funds and promote healthy choices and combat child obesity.

The Can the Tax Coalition, a staunch opponent of the tax that receives money from the American Beverage Association, “applauded” the passage of the repeal.

“Today’s action by the Finance Committee is a critical step to ending Cook County’s unfair, over-reaching and unpopular beverage tax,” the statement said. “Commissioners were listening and common sense has prevailed.”

The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce also commended the vote. Michael Reever, acting president of the chamber, said “businesses and consumers have faced a cumulative impact of new taxes, fees and regulations which have taken its toll. This was the tipping point.”

The tax provided no evidence that the justification of “combating child obesity” was working. It’s hard to keep people supporting a tax that doesn’t get the results it claimed it would.

Hopefully, other cities will learn a lesson from the soda tax and not bother with such a policy that is only bound to end in failure.