The board voted to pass a proposed tax on sugary drinks by a 9-8 margin.
This sweetened beverage tax provides important revenue that will allow us to avoid damaging cuts in the funding for public health and public safety,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said in a statement. “It also puts us on a stable financial footing for the next three fiscal years during which we will not have to approve any additional tax increases and allow us to double our investment in community-based anti-violence initiatives.”
Preckwinkle also said the tax will have a positive impact on issues like obesity, diabetes and heart disease in addition to financial benefits.
The proposal was not recommended by the board’s finance committee after a split vote Thursday afternoon. But the measure continued on to the full vote, where Preckwinkle cast the deciding vote.
Preckwinkle proposed the tax designed to raise revenue, but it’s being promoted as a way to reduce soda consumption and in turn improve public health.
The proposed penny-an-ounce tax faced stiff opposition from the beverage industry. The American Beverage Association has about $600,000 to oppose it, which is scheduled to be taken up Thursday by the county board.
New York City Ex-Mayor Michael Bloomberg is spending $1 million in Cook County in support of the tax.
Earlier this year, Philadelphia approved a sugary beverages tax. Voters in San Francisco, Oakland and Albany, California and Boulder, Colorado approved similar taxes Tuesday.
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