When November ends and December begins at the strike of midnight, the infamous Cook County beverage tax will no longer be in effect. The tax was approved last year and went into effect over the summer. Sugary Drinks included soda pop and artificially sweetened fruit juices sold in Cook County. They were taxed extra, and customers who bought drinks would pay the tax upfront to the vendors as it was added to the cost.

This caused absolute outrage from businesses and residents. Cook County is already known for its high taxes and expensive living, but this really went over the line for many.

County officials got numerous calls, letters and formal complaints regarding the tax, but the biggest resistance came in form of a lawsuit from the Illinois Retail Merchants Association in late June. The resistance won and the tax will no longer be in effect.

Putting in the tax

When the tax was proposed, Cook County officials said it would not only increase revenue for the county but also benefit the public's health. It was argued by the county that increasing revenue while using it as a way for people to be urged to consume less sugar would be more beneficial than increasing property taxes. The public did not buy it at all.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle was quoted by ABC 7's Sarah Schulte saying, "If we weren't going to have additional revenue, we'd be laying off doctors, nurses, state's attorneys, correction officers."

The tax itself charged a penny (one cent) per-ounce, so a 32-oz bottle of pop that cost 99 cents ended up costing $1.31, just as an example.

A gallon of a sugary drink (128 fluid ounces) is an extra $1.28 on top of the initial cost. A penny per ounce may not seem like a lot when first thought about, but doing the math shows how much more it could cost with the tax. People ended up going to the suburbs to buy their sugary drinks which hurt businesses in Cook County.

Repealing the tax

Back in October, there was a vote to repeal the tax. According to USA Today, the vote was 15-2 in favor of repeal. While most realized the tax was doing a lot of harm, some that still were in favor of it said that the next budget would see more debt if the tax was gotten rid of. Regardless there are a lot of relieved people in Cook County now that it is gone.

Illinois Retail Merchants Association, Rob Karr was quoted by Chicago Sun-Times reporter Rachel Hilton expressing his relief. “On behalf of the retail community and the consumers they serve on a daily basis, we are thankful the day has finally arrived when the sweetened beverage tax repeal takes effect."