Cook County’s controversial sweetened-beverage tax is no more.
It expired Friday, over a month after commissioners voted to repeal the penny-an-ounce levy.
Passed last November, the tax was temporarily held up in court this summer by a lawsuit filed by the Illinois Retail Merchants Association the day before its July 1 implementation date.
When the tax finally went into effect on Aug. 2, many angry county residents wrote and called their commissioners to urge them to repeal the tax and testified against the measure before the board of commissioners.
Now, those who said the tax was flawed and unconstitutional are expressing gratitude to the commissioners who voted to repeal the tax in October.
“On behalf of the retail community and the consumers they serve on a daily basis, we are thankful the day has finally arrived when the sweetened beverage tax repeal takes effect,” said Rob Karr, president and CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association.
“Due to the widespread public outrage, consumers will once again be able to choose to purchase these products in Cook County without the burden of this tax.”
The Can the Tax Coalition, which actively campaigned against the extra charge, will be “toasting” the end of the tax Friday morning with commissioners Richard Boykin, D-Oak Park, Peter Silvestri, R-Elmwood Park, and Sean Morrison, R-Palos Park. The group receives some funding from the American Beverage Association.
David Goldenberg, a spokesperson Can the Tax Coalition, called Friday a day for celebration.
“County residents stood up to this tax and we’re deeply appreciative that the commissioners listened,” Goldenberg said.