A beverage tax was passed by the Cook County Board on Nov. 10 as a key element to fund the Cook County 2017 budget. This new tax would add one penny for every one ounce of a beverage drink which means an additional $2.88 for a 24-pack of beverage drinks.

I appreciate the fact that many Cook County constituents have paid close attention to Cook County’s 2017 budget process and specifically this tax proposal as hundreds contacted my office to express their opposition to this tax.

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Contrary to most public headlines that call it just a “soda tax”; that couldn’t be further from the truth. This massive and expansive tax includes a list of nearly 1,000 individual beverages including fruit juices, teas, coffees, energy and sports drinks, enhanced waters, sodas and diet sodas. This beverage tax goes too far by hitting our residents too hard in their pocketbooks, especially Chicago residents, and hurts our local businesses.

I firmly opposed this heavy-handed tax for multiple reasons. First, the tax purposely singles out a specific private sector industry and is too expansive and creates a revenue stream that goes far beyond the means it is intended to serve. Second, there is still too much redundant and unnecessary spending and political clout jobs that could be cut from the 2017 budget before looking at additional taxes to fix budget shortfalls. Third, this tax will cause further damage to private sector jobs in exchange for protecting government patronage jobs. Fourth, it further places Cook County businesses at a competitive disadvantage against our neighboring counties and the State of Indiana when just a short commute to shop across the border means lost customers and lost revenue for Cook County.

Once again, Cook County government is committing itself to another horrible tax policy which will add more long term damage to our local economy.

Sean M. Morrison,
Cook County commissioner, 17th District

Humane proposal

Chicago’s aldermen merit commendation for endeavoring to make the city’s animal shelters “no kill” facilities. Millions of Americans consider their dogs, cats and other companion animals as invaluable family members that provide unconditional affection and friendship. This humane proposal will be difficult to implement. Every single employee who works at Chicago Animal Care and Control and related shelters will have to be highly qualified, experienced, motivated and capable of finding more homes for stray canines and felines. An ideal and compassion idea requires idyllic and passionate personnel as a vital means to ensure that it succeeds.

Brien Comerford, Glenview

What did you learn?

America has elected a new president. Every imaginable feeling and opinion has been expressed. As a result of that process, what have you learned about yourself?

Leon J. Hoffman, Lake View

Not a mandate

President-elect Donald Trump and a lot of his supporters seem to be quite confused about precisely how American elections work. So here’s a quick refresher.

A candidate wins the right to be sworn in as President by accumulating at least 270 electoral votes. A candidate earns a mandate by winning a lot more popular votes than one or more rival candidates. Ideally, a candidate wins both 270 or more electoral votes and many more popular votes than other candidate(s). But that doesn’t always happen.

In 2016, Donald Trump won more than 300 electoral votes. Unless several dozen “faithless electors” decide to vote for Hillary Clinton instead of Donald Trump, Mr. Trump will be sworn in as President on January 20, 2017.

But Mr. Trump did NOT win the popular vote. A number of states are still counting absentee, military, outside-U.S., and provisional votes, but it seems likely that, with all votes counted, we’ll find that more than 63 million Americans voted for Mrs. Clinton, while just over 61 million eligible voters marked their ballots for Mr. Trump. The best estimate I’ve seen suggests that Clinton won 2.2 million more votes.

Losing the popular vote does NOT deny Mr. Trump the office; he WILL be the president of the United States. But it does deny him a mandate … and that’s important!

On all the key issues where Mr. Trump’s position was very different from Mrs. Clinton’s policy, more Americans voted for her program rather than his. We oppose deporting 11 million (or even 2 or 3 million) undocumented persons unless Mr. Trump can prove that each one is guilty of a major felony. We’re for Obama’s Dreamers executive order and a path to citizenship for non-felon undocumented persons. We support the Iran nuclear deal and are suspicious of Vladimir Putin. We oppose the GOP’s mad desire to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act and privatize and “voucherize” Social Security and Medicare.

We think the ultra-rich and corporations should pay MORE tax than they do now, rather than less. We would laugh at the GOP’s denial of climate change if the consequences of that denial were not so dangerous, particularly for our children and grandchildren. We support a higher minimum wage and serious help for families struggling to pay child-care costs and reasonably-priced access to higher education. We agree with you that we need a major investment in infrastructure, but we don’t want it privatized and we do want it unionized!

Mary A. Carroll, Lincoln Park