Cook County businesses warn customers about upcoming beverage tax

CHICAGO -- Signs are up at stores across Cook County warning shoppers about the new beverage tax set to take effect at the start of next month. Businesses say they'll be hurt by the tax through loss of sales.

The refrigerators at the Jackpot Minimart, 535 West 111th Street, are lined with signs warning customers that, come July 1, they'll be paying more for that soda, juice, sports drink, or flavored water -- any drink that's ready to go.

The "Can the Tax Coalition" is trying to get the word out to warn Cook County residents that they'll be paying anywhere from 29 percent to 67 percent more for cans, cases, 2-liter containers or gallons of drinks.

The Cook County Board was equally divided on the tax, with President Toni Preckwinkle casting the go ahead vote.

The tax is expected to raise $224 million for the county's operating budget.

But "Mom and Pop" business owners are concerned that it will put them out of business.

Drinks that are not included in the tax are those with 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice, infant formula or liquid meal replacements.

The beverage tax will also not apply to purchases made with food stamps.