Thursday, August 03, 2017

Cook County Beverage Tax #tweetyoureciept

It seems here in Chicago our politicians have this great need to engage in some form of social engineering. I wish I had been paying attention to whatever debate took place at the county regarding this tax. Of course these things are never about encouraging people to change their behaviors it's about the revenue. It's about taking some of YOUR money!

Out of Cook County Chicago we have examples of a plastic bottle tax which is per bottle in the city, the idea is to discourage people from buying these plastic bottles that may or may not biodegrade. Just like these plastic grocery bags we'll talk about in a bit. Either way want a pack of bottle water however many there in too bad a tax per bottle. So far it appears the city has little interest in repealing that tax as far as I know. In stead my mother prefers to go outside of the city to buy a pack of bottle water.

Of course more recently is the bag tax. During the past year Chicago attempted to ban the simple grocery bags to discourage their use among city residents. Well that failed and around New Years a 7 cent tax was instituted on plastic and paper bags. The idea was to encourage people to bring their own bags to shop, although the reality is again for the city to further collect more revenue. One report has shown that the city actually has come short of their expected revenue forecasts. Irony one ordinance to discourage use of grocery bags was repealed and now a new ordinance to address this issue also hasn't lived up to expectiations.

And now the beverage tax and even our county board president who at first hides behind the idea that instituting this tax will promote public health admits this is about raising revenue:
"Raising revenue was never my first choice," Preckwinkle said in November. "This measure provides important revenue, not only to avoid damaging cuts for public health and public safety systems, but also to expand our community-based interventions in both arenas. 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."

Cook County is depending on the tax revenue. It had been expecting the tax to bring in $67.5 million this year and $200.6 million in 2018.

The county lost about $20 million from not being able to collect the tax in July, said Frank Shuftan, a spokesman for Preckwinkle. It will have to make up that money in order to balance the budget, and that could mean layoffs. Shuftan said a small number of employees have already been laid off, but he couldn't provide an exact figure.
This article makes sure to note that this law was poorly written and it was made clear that no business people were at the table to help write this law and institute this tax. In fact a business group filed a lawsuit to block the tax back in June. There was an injunction that was recently lifted that allowed for the ultimate implementation of this tax which was originally supposed to start in July.

I was late to the party by the twitter account of the Tribune Editorial Board wanted citizens to post their reciepts to show the amount of the beverage tax. Hopefully to show some discontent and even though this was almost a day old by the time I learned of this, you can see my tweet below.

Also I see via the CBS Chicago link that there was at least one vote against this tax by Commissioner Boykin who's a Democrat. There are 17 members of the board of commissioners. I got to find out how many votes were in favor and who voted on it.

BTW, this is the only one that caught my interest there are other laws implemented by Chicago that may prove damaging to businesses, workers, and residents. I'd like to share my thoughts on them in the near future. And furthermore as much as these laws are well meaning my concern is that they could also result in the opposite effect.

BTW I forgot that the County is attempting to sue this anti-beverage tax business group for $17 million. The county wants the money they lost out on as the injunction prevented them from collecting on the taxes. My tweet upon hearing about this

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