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Toni Preckwinkle on Soda Tax Repeal, County Budget Shortfall

Monday, October 16, 2017
Crain's Chicago Business
by Alexandra Silets

To watch this piece click here

 

After a two-month battle, the conversional soda tax is dead.

Taxpayers revolted after the Cook County Board passed the penny-per-ounce tax. One poll conducted by the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association showed that an overwhelming majority of respondents—87-percent—opposed it.

The pushback was unprecedented, and the commissioners relented to their constituents’ pressure. They repealed the tax last week by a 15-2 vote. Only Larry Suffredin, a Democrat from Evanston, and Jerry Butler, a Democrat from Chicago’s South Side, voted to keep the tax.

It’s not officially gone yet. The repeal goes into effect on Dec. 1.

But now Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle warns there’s a $200 million hole that has been blown into the county’s $5.4 budget with the pop tax repeal.

“Over the next six weeks before the end of the fiscal year, we’re going to have to work very closely with our separately elected officials and our commissioners to present a balanced budget and I can’t say anything is off the table,” said Preckwinkle after the tax was repealed on Wednesday.

So how will the Cook County Board balance the budget without that revenue? More layoffs and possible service cuts? There are 66 collective bargaining agreements up for negotiations. And the Board hasn’t taken action on the Teamsters agreement which includes a $1,200 signing bonus as well as roll call yearly bonuses.

Preckwinkle joins Carol Marin to discuss the sweetened beverage tax repeal, the Cook County budget shortfall and more.



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