CHICAGO – A penny-an-ounce tax on sugary and artificially sweetened drinks has been adopted by the Cook County Board of Commissioners in Chicago.
The board on Thursday split eight-to-eight on the new tax, designed to raise millions in revenue, but promoted as a way to reduce soda consumption and in turn improve public health. County Board President Toni Preckwinkle cast the tie-breaking vote for the tax.
Preckwinkle said raising revenue isn’t her first choice, but money is needed to prevent cuts to the county’s criminal justice and health care systems.
The proposed tax generated fierce opposition from the American Beverage Association, which spent heavily to oppose it.
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who spent $1 million promoting the tax’s adoption, called its passage a “victory for American public health.