Tag Archives: Sugary drink tax

Sugary-Drink Tax To Help Children, Schools

BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – The controversial soda tax in Boulder is benefiting 16 organizations in Colorado. Last May, the city council approved the tax, which went into effect on July 1. It charges soda distributors two cents for every ounce of soda and other sweetened beverages.
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So far the tax has brought in about $1 million. The tax will be used to help improve the community. Here is how it breaks down:
  • $50,000 to pay for dental care for low-income children
  • $66,000 to buy fresh produce for schools
  • $60,000 for in-school physical fitness and nutrition education
diet soda ban 1 Sugary Drink Tax To Help Children, Schools

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According to Boulder County Public Health, kids who drink one sugary drink per day have a 55 percent higher risk of obesity, a 33 percent higher risk of dying from heart disease, and a 25 percent higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Retailers Say Beverage Sales Down As Much As 47 Percent Due To Soda Tax

CHICAGO (CBS) — In the latest salvo over Cook County’s controversial sweetened beverage tax, retailers trotted out numbers to back up their demand to repeal the tax. Joseph Butera, owner of the supermarket chain bearing his family’s name, said ever since the soft drink tax went into effect, beverage sales have dropped. “At our store in Norridge, for example, our beverage sales are down 47 percent,” he said. Illinois Food Retailers Association President Brian Jordan said stores like Leamington Foods in the Lawndale neighborhood have seen customers leave to shop elsewhere, because of the tax. “One out of 32 retail locations in Cook County has seen a decline in beverage sales, and some have even seen beverage sales decline nearly 50 percent,” he said. “Over 40 percent of the stores have seen a 30 percent decrease in beverage sales, and over 15 percent of the stores reporting have seen a 40 percent or greater decrease in beverage sales.” Frank Guiglio, district manager for Tony’s Fresh Market, said many of his customers are now shopping outside of Cook County. “I have never, ever seen the outrage and anger that’s being displayed by our customers in Tony’s regarding this excessive and abusive beverage tax,” he said. Valley Produce owner Laurie Tenutia said stores not only are losing beverage sales, but other food sales, as shoppers pick up other groceries outside Cook County when they go to buy soda and other sugary drinks. “They’re not going to come to us just for groceries anymore. They’re going to go make the one stop, and buy whatever they need. So we are going to drop drastically in sales. Our business, because of it, has dropped 11 percent,” she said. “Sadly, lower sales mean that we have to cut down hours for all of our working employees.” Retailers said the tax should be repealed for the benefit of workers and business owners. The Preckwinkle administration has defended the tax, citing health and revenue reasons for keeping it in place. Opponents of the tax on the Cook County Board have introduced a plan to repeal it, and a Finance Committee meeting has been scheduled for next month to debate the proposal. However, it’s unclear if commissioners behind the repeal effort have the votes to do away with the tax. At least nine votes would be needed, and even if that were to happen, Board President Toni Preckwinkle could veto the repeal plan, and the board would need 11 votes to override.

County Board Showdown Looms For Sweetened Beverage Tax

CHICAGO (CBS) — The battle over Cook County’s controversial sweetened beverage tax takes center stage at Wednesday’s county board meeting, as opponents launch an effort to repeal the tax. More than 90 people – both for and against the tax – have signed up to speak at Wednesday’s board meeting, where Commissioner Richard Boykin will introduce his plan to repeal the tax. Boykin said he has a 10-point plan to reduce spending in order to balance the county’s budget without the $17 million in monthly revenue expected from the penny-per-ounce tax on sweetened beverages. His proposal likely will go to committee, under the board’s normal rules of procedure, unless the majority of the board decides to suspend the rules to put the plan to an immediate vote.
The board was split 8-8 over the tax last year, and Board President Toni Preckwinkle cast the deciding vote to pass it. It’s unclear if Boykin has the votes to approve his repeal plan. Preckwinkle spoke at the City Club of Chicago’s breakfast earlier Wednesday, and her speech focused on the importance of this tax to fill a $174 million dollar budget deficit, and to promote better health. “To any commissioner considering this action, I remind you that a vote to repeal is a vote to fire front-line health care providers; doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals who help serve our most vulnerable,” she said. Recent polls have showed 87 percent of Cook County residents disapprove of the tax. Preckwinkle admitted she didn’t expect that kind of pushback from the public, but said if opponents are serious about repealing the tax, she noted the tax is expected to generate more than $200 million in revenue for next year’s budget. “Those who support repeal will have to identify those programs and services that they intend to cut to make up the $200 million in revenue loss,” she said. Commissioner John Fritchey, who voted against the tax, said in a Facebook post he does not expect a resolution to the repeal effort on Wednesday. If the measure is sent to committee, the earliest the full board could vote would be their next meeting in October.

Sweetened Beverage Tax Opponents Call For Commissioners To Repeal

CHICAGO (CBS) — The battle over Cook County’s sweetened beverage tax has showed no sign of fizzling out, and opponents have forged ahead with an effort to get rid of it. Tuesday morning, opponents held a protest rally to call on county commissioners to repeal the penny-per-ounce tax that has proved extremely unpopular with voters. Hundreds of retail workers and small business owners who say they have suffered from declining soft drink sales gathered outside the Thompson Center, across the street from the County Building, a day ahead of a possible repeal vote. Protesters held up signs and banners asking commissioners to “choose Cook County businesses.”
The sweetened beverage tax has been in effect for a little more than a month, yet many business owners have said sales have dropped significantly. “The residents of Cook County, their jobs and businesses are being hammered by this unfair, overreaching, illogical beverage tax,” said Sam Toia, Illinois Restaurant Association. Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin has said the county should repeal the tax, and on Tuesday he unveiled a 10-point fiscal plan to make up for the $17 million in monthly revenue that would be lost if the tax goes away. Boykins’ plan includes a hiring freeze, closing vacant positions, and holding the line on salary increases.
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle has defended the tax, saying it helps promote better health, and is needed to help the county’s finances. She has said it’s a better option than other possible tax increases. However, Boykin said the tax will backfire on Preckwinkle. “Her whole premise is is that she hopes the tax will cause people to drink less of this product. Well, if they drink less of it, guess what? We don’t get the revenue that she said that we need to realize in order to fund county government,” he said. “So guess what? We’re going to be at the same place in a few months down the road, when she says that we don’t get that revenue, that individuals are going to be talking about laying folks off. That’s irresponsible.” A reporter noted Boykin’s 10-point plan sounded a bit like a campaign platform, and Boykin did not reject the notion. “Toni Preckwinkle and this unfair pop tax must go, and they must go right now. The reality of it is is that we’ll make a decision on whether or not we’re running for county board president. That’s a press conference for another time. Right now, I want to focus on a fiscal roadmap forward for the county,” he said. But in a visit to the eye clinic at Provident Hospital, Board President Toni Preckwinkle said the tax would help prevent some of the eye diseases treated at the clinic, many liked to diabetes and a high-sugar diet. And she added, don’t expect an up or down vote on the soda tax on Wednesday. “My expectation is we will follow the regular order of business and the matter will be referred to finance for consideration,” Preckwinkle said.
Supporters of repeal say Preckwinkle wants the issue referred to Committeee because she doesn’t have the votes to defeat it outright. Coca-Cola employee Claudia Stachacc said sales in Cook County have dropped about 25 percent from the time the tax kicked in. “They don’t want to pay the tax. I mean, I go to the store, and I don’t want to pay the tax either. So I go outside of Cook County to buy my stuff, too,” she said. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has spent $5 million on ads supporting the tax, claiming it is all in the name of health. He has said he plans to put out even more ads, urging the county to keep the tax in place. Boykin said there’s a 50-50 chance the full County Board will vote on the repeal plan on Wednesday if commissioners want to rush this process. The standard procedure would be for the board to send Boykin’s proposal to committee for debate, and then bring it to a vote of the full board in October.

Less Money Expected From ‘Sugary Drink’ Tax

BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – The controversial soda tax in Boulder might not bring in as much money as previously expected.

Last May, the city council approved the tax, which went into effect on July 1. It charges soda distributors two cents for every ounce of soda and other sweetened beverages.

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The city thought it would bring in $3 million dollars annually, but experts say they expect about half that in tax returns.

City officials say that’s partly due to the fact many people are now buying soda at liquors stores, which are exempt form the tax.

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According to Boulder County Public Health, kids who drink one sugary drink per day have a 55 percent higher risk of obesity, a 33 percent higher risk of dying from heart disease, and a 25 percent higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Business Owners Say Cook County Soda Tax Hurting Small Stores, Restaurants

CHICAGO (CBS) — Business leaders from across Cook County said the new sweetened beverage tax is unfair to stores and restaurants, and will have a devastating economic impact. Illinois Food Retailers Association president Brian Jordan said, since the penny-per-ounce tax covers low-calorie and zero-calorie drinks made with artificial sweeteners, it amounts to no more than a money grab, rather than an effort to fight obesity as the Preckwinkle administration has argued. “What’s even more unbelievable is that the county is now going after $17 million for the revenue that they say they lost during the temporary restraining order. What does that tell us? That tells us that the county is not concerned about health. They’re only concerned about their budget,” he said. The sweetened beverage tax went into effect on Wednesday. It originally was supposed to begin July 1, but was blocked by a judge when the Illinois Retail Merchants Association filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the tax. The judge dismissed the lawsuit last week, opening the door for the county to begin collecting the tax. Niles Chamber of Commerce executive director Katie Schneider said the new tax would put many independent- and family-owned stores and restaurants out of business. She said those businesses are “really the character and the uniqueness of a town like Niles, and for a lot of these communities here, just like the city of Chicago.” Many restaurant owners have said they will see their water bills rise, as customers switch away from sweetened beverages to water to avoid the tax. George Alpongianis said he owns several restaurants, and must pay $200,000 a year in taxes and fees to Cook County for each of them before adding the new soda tax. “Business licenses, liquor licenses, property taxes, an environmental tax, utility tax, a cable tax, and a phone tax,” he said. Fellow restaurant owner Jo Shah said she can’t afford to pass along the cost of the new tax to her customers. “It’s a difficult tax; $200,000 before we even open the door, and we can’t go to our people who come in and say, ‘Oh, could you loan us another $200,000, or we’re going to tax you more,’ because we don’t have that right. We can’t do it, but the county can,” she said. Store owners across the county line said they already have lost customers to stores in neighboring counties without the tax. The first day of the tax was marred by problems, with many stores charging customers the tax on drinks not covered by the county ordinance. The tax applies to sugary soft drinks, lemonades, teas, sports drinks, and sweetened powders and syrups used for fountain drinks – including drinks made with artificial sweeteners. Exemptions from the tax include 100 percent fruit juice, milk-based drinks, baby formula, and other medical beverages. Drink powders and syrups like Kool Aid that a consumer adds sugar to at home also are exempt. Sparkling water also is supposed to be exempt, but a Walgreens store in Streeterville rang up a 12-pack of La Croix with a sweetened beverage tax charge of $1.40 and refused to remove it when questioned. A mom-and-pop store on Division Street also erroneously charged 17 cents tax on a bottle of Iced Mountain sparkling water.

Cook County Sweetened Beverage Tax Begins After Court Delay

CHICAGO (CBS) — A new penny-per-ounce tax on sweetened beverages has gone into effect in Cook County, but opponents continued the fight to have the tax thrown out. The Illinois Retail Merchants Association has appealed a Cook County judge’s decision to dismiss a lawsuit that temporarily delayed the tax from going into effect. It originally was set to begin on July 1, but was delayed by the lawsuit, and then scheduled to go into effect on Wednesday. Customers will have to pay the new tax when buying soft drinks or other sweetened beverages in Cook County. The penny-per-ounce tax means a two-liter bottle of soda will cost you 67 extra cents in tax, and a 12-pack of 12-ounce cans will cost an extra $1.44. For retailers, it means putting in place a whole new system of collecting taxes and checking inventory. Business owners said it’s another way the county is making it more difficult for them to operate. “Every year, there’s something new. You know, a cigarette tax, and now the bags, and now it’s soda tax. It’s just unbelievable. Hard to run a business like that, you know?” said Aruna Sathia, owner of a 7-Eleven on the Near North Side. The tax applies to sugary soft drinks, lemonades, teas, sports drinks, and sweetened powders and syrups used for fountain drinks – including drinks made with artificial sweeteners. Exemptions from the tax include 100 percent fruit juice, milk-based drinks, baby formula, and other medical beverages. Drink powders and syrups like Kool Aid that a consumer adds sugar to at home also are exempt. Adding to the confusion for some retailers and consumers is that coffee and tea drinks are treated differently, depending on how they are sold. A Starbucks Frappuccino made by a barista is exempt from the sugary drink tax, but the tax applies if it’s sold in a bottle. Most restaurateurs are paying the penny-an-ounce tax directly to their suppliers. But how much should they pass along to customers? They still aren’t sure. “This drink already right now is $2.50,” Palace Grill owner George Lemperis said, referring to a soda. “It’s going to be almost $3 bucks for a drink. You’re going to pay $3 bucks for this now? I don’t know.” At Chicken Planet in the Loop, pop has been a bargain at $1 per glass with free refills. They, too, are struggling with what to charge. “I have to lose money to keep the customer happy,” said Abid Moinuddin. Here’s another complication for restaurants: if they sell a mixed drink, such as a rum and coke, they can’t charge the tax on the alcohol, but they can on the soda. So, how do they decide on a price? IRMA president Sam Toia said the confusion is one more reason he and retailers hope to have the tax thrown out. “Everyone is scrambling how to figure this out,” Toia said, adding that he is not overly optimistic about an appeal. IRMA attorneys have yet to decide if they might ask the Illinois Appellate Court to issue a stay of the sweetened beverage tax. If that were to happen, any taxes collected would be placed in escrow until a ruling is issued.

Retail Merchants Association Files Soda Tax Appeal

CHICAGO (CBS) — The drink tax plot thickened late Tuesday afternoon, as retailers in Illinois filed an appeal to stop the sweetened beverage tax from taking effect. But seeing as it’s supposed to be implemented in less than seven hours, what’s going to happen next remains unclear. CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole visited some restaurants, who are struggling to figure out what to do with all the uncertainty. “How am I going to regulate it? How much am I going to charge?” questioned George Lemperis, owner of the Palace Grill. Most restaurateurs are paying the penny-an-ounce tax directly to their suppliers. But how much should they pass along to customers? They still aren’t sure. “This drink already right now is $2.50,” Lemperis said, referring to a soda. “It’s going to be almost $3 bucks for a drink. You’re going to pay $3 bucks for this now? I don’t know.”
Adding to the confusion, they will also be required to pay tax on product they’ve already purchased if it’s served after Tuesday. “Even though I’ve already bought it, I have to mail in the money and pay the tax on this product that I already have,” said Lemperis. At Chicken Planet in the Loop, pop has been a bargain at $1 per glass with free refills. They, too, are struggling with what to charge. “I have to lose money to keep the customer happy,” said Abid Moinuddin, who WHAT For a $75 box of soda mix, they will now pay $35 more in taxes. “It’s not going to be free refill anymore. I have to put a sign on the machine — the refill will be 50 cents or 75 cents,”  Moinuddin said. Sam Toia with the Illinois Restaurant Association says the confusion is one more reason he and retailers hope to file another appeal. “Everyone is scrambling how to figure this out,” Toia said, adding that he is not overly optimistic about an appeal, but says he is going to try. The county hopes to pocket $200 million annually from the tax. “They’re killing the small businesses; they are killing the restaurant people,” Lemperis said. “We have filed a notice to appeal the decision on the sweetened beverage tax to protect retailers and consumers against this tax whose rules and regulations have continuously evolved throughout this process,” Rob Karr, president and CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, said in a statement Here’s another complication for restaurants: if they sell a mixed drink, such as a rum and coke, they can’t charge the tax on the alcohol, but they can on the soda. So, how do they decide on a price? And that late breaking word of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association filling an appeal just creates more questions.

Cook County’s Soda Tax To Begin Wednesday

CHICAGO (CBS) — Barring a last minute change, Cook County’s sweetened beverage tax will go into effect on Wednesday, which means it will cost a penny an ounce more. A 2 liter bottle of pop, for example, will cost 67 cents. Stores have less than 48-hours to reprogram their registers to collect the tax. “We have to double check at the register that we are charging the right price too,” said Jorge Rivera, who works at La Chiquita Market in Little Village. “We’re doing our best.” At La Chiquita, they’ve put the cost warning signs out to customers. Now, the general manager of the store, Martin Sandovol, is putting out a warning about business. He said the store could be down anywhere from 20 to 30 percent in sales. “We’re afraid of maybe losing our jobs,” Rivera said. Sandovol says if business slumps for three months, pink slips could follow for an estimated 50 workers. Due to past legal delays in collecting the sweetened beverage tax, 300 employees were given layoff notifications — and some were let go. Cook County says that number could potentially decrease. A judge blocked the tax on June 30, one day before it was originally supposed to go into effect, after the Illinois Retail Merchants Association filed a lawsuit challenging the legality and constitutionality of the tax. The judge dismissed that lawsuit on Friday, allowing the county to put the tax into effect, which county officials said will happen Wednesday, barring the possibility IRMA files an appeal and receives another injunction. The tax includes all sugary soft drinks, lemonades, teas, sports drinks, and sweetened powders and syrups used for fountain drinks in Cook County. It also would include drinks made with artificial sweeteners.

Border Suburbs Worried About Looming Impact Of Cook County Soda Tax

CHICAGO (CBS) — With two days until Cook County’s penny-per-ounce tax on sweetened beverages goes into effect, border suburbs have been left wondering what impact it will have on their businesses. Tinley Park, for one, finds itself in both Cook County and Will County. Village administrator Dave Niemeyer said Will County already has lower property taxes, sales taxes, and gas taxes, and he’s concerned the new Cook County tax on sweetened beverages could be the last straw for some business owners who might move elsewhere. “Gas tax, sales tax, property tax; there’s been the county’s regulations on minimum wage, and I think it’s just a cumulative effect of all of them I think is what frustrates a lot of our Cook County business community,” he said. Niemeyer said gas stations on the Will County side already make a big deal about lower taxes than Cook County. He noted a gas station on 183rd and Harlem advertises that it does not have Cook County taxes as a way to draw more customers. “Certainly, I haven’t had anybody say to me that they’re looking at leaving because of this, but I think most people are going to see what happens; but obviously some of the businesses are concerned about it,” he said. The tax would add a penny per ounce to the cost of buying all sugary soft drinks, lemonades, teas, sports drinks, and sweetened powders and syrups used for fountain drinks in Cook County. It also would include drinks made with artificial sweeteners. A judge blocked the tax on June 30, one day before it was originally supposed to go into effect, after the Illinois Retail Merchants Association filed a lawsuit challenging the legality and constitutionality of the tax. The judge dismissed that lawsuit on Friday, allowing the county to put the tax into effect, which county officials said will happen Wednesday, barring the possibility IRMA files an appeal and receives another injunction.