Letters: Put a statewide tax on surgary drinks

SHARE Letters: Put a statewide tax on surgary drinks

The article, “Rauner’s Ultimatum to Dems: Bend on Reforms or Let Me Cut,” shows the dire fiscal situation the state is in. State leaders must immediately address the budget impasse that has hurt thousands of families through service cuts, and consider revenue options to get us out of this crisis.

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The Healthy Eating Active Living proposal is expected to generate more than $600 million a year to support Medicaid and invest in community resources for kids and families to live healthier lives through a penny-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks. This type of proposal is a win-win for the state, supporting the Medicaid program (and freeing up some state general funds for education, human services and public safety) and helping to prevent costly diseases like heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

The HEAL proposal invests in our health while also addressing the health impacts of the number one source of added sugars in our diet: sugary drinks like soda pop, sports drinks, fruit drinks, and energy drinks. With over two-thirds of Illinoisans supporting a penny-per-ounce excise tax on sugary drinks to invest in health, state leaders should consider “HEAL-ing” the budget to improve Illinois’ long-term fiscal and physical health.

Elissa J. Bassler

CEO, Illinois Public Health Institute

Absurd lawsuit

I am writing to add my voice to the many residents of Chicago who are outraged at the absurd lawsuit being perpetrated by Friends of the Park against the Lucas Museum. This museum is a one-of-a-kind celebration of characteristically American art forms including cinema, pop art, comic art, illustration, and digital art, mediums that not fully represented in other Chicago institutions.

The proposed museum will add an iconic architectural structure and 200,000 sq ft of new public park space to an otherwise blank, paved, and bleak city landscape. The museum will contribute to and extend the cultural history of Chicago’s museum campus further south while improving the safety of people using that section of lakefront for other recreational purposes. It will provide hundreds of jobs to Chicago residents and generate tourism revenue for the city. It will provide educational opportunities and inspire a new generation of artists, storytellers, illustrators, and filmmakers.

Lucas has pledged to privately fund the $400-plus million cost to make this happen. He is trying to do exactly what Field, Shedd, and Adler did with similar land. The Friends of the Park lawsuit flies in the face of 120 years of precedent of wealthy philanthropists making celebrated contributions to the betterment of our city.

Gino Generelli, Chicago

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