Soda Tax Fizzles In Chicago As Cook County Officials Cast Decisive 15-1 Repeal Vote

In a shocking move that completely upends Chicago's endless pursuit of higher taxes and an overly-regulated nanny state, the Cook County Finance Committee took the unprecedented step of voting to actually repeal their unpopular 'soda tax' last night.  The 15-1 vote followed an outcry from local residents and small business retailers who say their soda sales crashed 90% after the original ban was passed.  Per ABC:

The vote to repeal the sweetened beverage tax was one spawned by revolt from people and business owners across the county, many who packed the board meeting Tuesday afternoon.


"I'm about 10 percent of where my soda sales used to be. It's really hurt me deeply in the pocket and my workers also. I'm very happy you are understanding this and going to repeal this tax," said Ken Blum, a blind vendor.


"I believe what we heard over the last ten and eleven months is that our residents are fed up, and they finally said enough. Tax fatigue has sunk in," said Cook County Board Commissioner Sean Morrison.


"I have heard from the people in my district overwhelmingly, the business owners, the retailers, as well union members in this building who are opposed to this tax," said Commissioner John Daley.


"Let me tell you I'm overjoyed and elated that this tax is going to go away. I mean the people in my district by an overwhelming majority don't want this tax," said Commissioner Richard Boykin.

The repeal of the tax still faces a vote from the full board which is expected later today.  That said, the repeal will not take effect until December 1, which is when the new budget is set to go into effect.

Of course, not everyone was happy with the repeal vote as Public Defender Amy Campanelli, who depends on dipping in the taxpayer-funded trough for her livelihood, complained that tax cuts would require her to make some difficult decisions.  Apparently Ms. Campanelli doesn't understand that that is kind of the point.

The calls for repeal were countered with concerns about the impact losing the projected $200 million in revenue will have on county services. Elected leaders made a last ditch effort to keep the tax at the meeting.


"To meet an 11 percent cut we would be subject to massive layoffs. My office in its present form would no longer exist. To meet the target number, we would have to eliminate approximately 134 positions from my 680 budgeted staff, or about 20 percent of my office. The effects would be nothing short of devastating," said Cook County Public Defender Amy Campanelli.

Meanwhile, a representative from the American Heart Association complained that she just can't see how "repealing this tax creates a healthier community." 

"I don't see how this repealing this tax creates a healthier community. I think you're going to see -- I think this is a recipe for disaster," said Julie Mirostaw with the American Heart Association.

Sure, and while you're at it maybe just apply a massive tax to fast food, all restaurant dishes that are fried, bacon, cheese, candy, pizza, processed meats...pretty much everything that Americans eat on a daily basis.  Perhaps when the nanny state of Illinois takes full control of every decision that its residents make then they will finally be able to mold the healthy population that Julie Mirostaw desires?

Then again, maybe local/state/federal government entities could just stop promoting poor health decisions by subsidizing junk food with taxpayer-funded entitlements like food stamps.

As we pointed out several months ago, a study released by the USDA offered a stunning look at just how much of the money spent on food stamps goes toward the purchase of soft drinks and other unnecessary junk foods.  Per the study, nearly $360mm, or 5.4% of the $6.6BN of food expenditures made by SNAP recipients, is spent on soft drinks alone.  In fact, soft drinks represent the single largest "commodity" purchased by SNAP participants with $100mm more spent on sodas than milk and $150mm more than beef.

Soft drinks were the top commodity bought by food stamp recipients shopping at outlets run by a single U.S. grocery retailer.


That is according to a new study released by the Food and Nutrition Service, the federal agency responsible for running the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as the food stamp program.


By contrast, milk was the top commodity bought from the same retailer by customers not on food stamps.


In calendar year 2011, according to the study, food stamp recipients spent approximately $357,700,000 buying soft drinks from an enterprise the study reveals only as “a leading U.S. grocery retailer.”


That was more than they spent on any other “food” commodity—including milk ($253,700,000), ground beef ($201,000,000), “bag snacks” ($199,300,000) or “candy-packaged” ($96,200,000), which also ranked among the top purchases.


Even worse, when we added up all of the commodities that would typically be considered "junk food" (i.e. soft drinks, candy, cakes, energy drinks, etc.), we found that roughly $950mm, or just over 14% of the aggregate $6.6BN of food expenditures made by SNAP recipients, is spent on unnecessary, unhealthy products.


Of course, that kind of logic has no place in government.


a Smudge by an… Common_Law Wed, 10/11/2017 - 20:00 Permalink

The comment above is not endorsed by the American Heart Association, the American Medical Association or anything associated with the medical industry. Just keep eating our inverted food pyramid, keep guzzling soda and we'll see you in a few years for useless last ditch medical intervention which your children's children will pay for for the rest of their lives. Now if you'll excuse us, we're late for golf.

In reply to by Common_Law

Creepy_Azz_Crackaah a Smudge by an… Wed, 10/11/2017 - 22:02 Permalink

"' To meet the target number, we would have to eliminate approximately 134 positions from my 680 budgeted staff, or about 20 percent of my office. The effects would be nothing short of devastating,'said Cook County Public Defender Amy Campanelli."What the fuck is the public defender doing with a staff of 680 (SIX HUNDRED and EIGHTY!!!) people?!?!?  Get rid of 600 of them, not just 134. No wonder their budget is so fucked up.

In reply to by a Smudge by an…

Lumberjack nmewn Wed, 10/11/2017 - 18:58 Permalink

Illinois will be invading another state soon to rape and pillage its inhabitants to pay their debts. They don't have a navy so Canada is out of the question...they appear to have a standing army though. Plenty of arms and able bodied folks in Chicago.

Massachusetts is in the process of invading Maine for the same exact reasons (before the full debt problem is revealed).

In reply to by nmewn

wisehiney Wed, 10/11/2017 - 19:01 Permalink

Articles every single day now about socialist clashing with each other.About their stupid policies.And their logical outcome.Expect more.And pass the popcorn.

Dr. Acula Wed, 10/11/2017 - 19:10 Permalink

Watch out folks!Your wallet isn't the only place where socialists allegedly want to put their hands!"Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is now pandering to the far-left with a soda tax""Mayor Ed Murray announced his resignation hours after a fifth accuser, a cousin, said Murray molested him" 

Beltain Wed, 10/11/2017 - 19:05 Permalink

So those on SNAP buy more soda with government money while those who pay their own way buy more milk. Guess which segment of the population is lactose intolerant? Remember milk is racist. 

Archibald Buttle Beltain Thu, 10/12/2017 - 02:18 Permalink

don't forget the bonus: dumbasses that can't figure out how to not poison themselves instead of eating real food will probably end up costing an exponential amount of taxpayer funds on "healthcare" down the road due to their poor nutrition choices. amongst a host of other bad choices, but that is neither here nor there. in any event, somebody's children, granchildren, and so on will be "paying" for this fiasco eventually. 

In reply to by Beltain

Golden Phoenix Archibald Buttle Thu, 10/12/2017 - 04:53 Permalink

You have $5. Which are you going to buy?$4.00 gallon of milk and two packages of ramen or$1.00 2 liter of sale Coca Cola and $4 worth of eggs?Two ramen = 60 carbs. Gallon of milk = 282 carbs. Gallon of chocolate milk = 413.6. Milk and ramen = 342 to 473.6 carbs 2 liter of Coca Cola = 38 carbs. Eggs = 0 carbs. 2 liter soda and eggs = 38 carbs.Get back to us about who is smart when you figure out how to feed your family for a day on what you pay for one Starbucks with extra snot. 

In reply to by Archibald Buttle

bornlastnight Wed, 10/11/2017 - 19:18 Permalink

"The 15-1 vote followed an outcry from local residents and small business retailers who say their soda sales crashed 90% after the original ban was passed. "You mean the politicians couldn't see this coming?  And what about the cigarette tax?  The pols couldn't see a sharp decrease in taxes because cigarettes are bought out of state or smuggled in to the state?  Didn't these asshole politicians learn anything from the Prohibition era fiasco?I do believe politicians are crazy for believing that they can implement the same fucked up laws and expect different results.

waspwench bornlastnight Wed, 10/11/2017 - 22:28 Permalink

But, but, but I thought that was the idea.   If you taxed soda then folks wouldn't buy it, and that was the intention because it's bad for their health and it has no nutritional value. The soda tax was effective and had the hoped for effect.   The social engineering worked.    BUT it is costing some businesses money so the tax must be repealed.The legislators need to make their minds up.   What do they want:   Healthier people or richer businessmen?It is very sad to see that taxpayers money is wasted on junk food and that poor people do not know how to buy healthy food or how to cook it.   Hardly any of the foods listed as being purchased by SNAP recipients is fresh, nutritional food.    There is no mention of fresh vegetables, fresh fruits or fish but plenty of snack foods, sugar water so-called "juices", soda, cold cereals and prepared frozen meals and pizzas - all junk food which is loaded with salt and sugar, has little or no nutritional value, and is expensive.Maybe it is time we started to teach kids, of both sexes, what to eat and how to cook it.

In reply to by bornlastnight

Archibald Buttle waspwench Thu, 10/12/2017 - 02:39 Permalink

the soda tax did not work, at least from the taxing authority's point of view. it created another black market for soda. take a van to the suburbs, indiana, wisconsin, come back and sell it for less than new sticker price. pocket the difference. people did this in car trunks with cigarettes 15 years ago. did consumption go down? maybe. did the already baked into the budget tax revenue actually show up? no? d'oh! that was supposed to paper over a hole in the pension thingy for a couple of election cycles.another well intentioned idea that was not fully thought out. add one more to the long list.there are way better ways to promote a good idea than punishing those that can't see the good idea for what it is. this is why it is important to teach the children, rather than indoctrinating them. an educated child is king in the land of the dumbasses. and we do live in a world that seems dead set on producing more dumasses.

In reply to by waspwench

khakuda Wed, 10/11/2017 - 19:26 Permalink

Finally a small smackdown of the nanny state liberals.

It was so disingenuous to only tax the soda companies instead of taxing sugar everywhere. Then again, Philadelphia even put the tax and diet sodas so the whole pretense was complete bullshit anyway.

It is comical that anyone believes that these taxes are for the public health. The states and federal government make more money off of tobacco sales than the tobacco companies do. Basically, they are majority partner and controlling shareholder. Governments are actually in the position now where they do not want to move to safer non combustion cigarettes because it could cut their revenues.

Billy the Poet khakuda Wed, 10/11/2017 - 19:43 Permalink

A carton of tubes and enough "pipe tobacco" (loophole) to fill them costs 20 bucks at the local smoke shop. A good tabletop cigarette machine costs about $50 (manual) or $65 (electric). Don't even try the little handheld cigarette makers, way too much hassle.So a carton of smokes runs about 20 bucks and that leaves the government $55 shy on the deal.

In reply to by khakuda