On Tuesday, October 10, the Cook County Board of Commissioners Finance Committee
passed the ordinance to repeal the sweetened beverage tax. The measure was passed by the full Board
of Commissioners on Wednesday, October 11 by a vote of 15-2. This ordinance repeals a measure
narrowly passed by the Board of Commissioners last year (November, 2016) imposing a penny an ounce
tax on sugary beverages. That tax, which had no direct voter input, was implemented at the beginning of
the calendar year 2017. Reports cite voter pressure and pushback on the measure as reasons behind the
Update on Seattle Soda Tax: On June 6, 2017, the Seattle City Council approved a new tax on soda and
other sugary beverages. The measure, originally proposed in February by then-Mayor Ed Murray, will
implement a tax of 1.75 cents per ounce on soda, sports drinks, energy drinks and other sweetened
beverages. The city government is currently finalizing rules for the implementation of the tax that is
scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2017. As was the case in Cook County, the Seattle process
bypassed a public vote and was enacted by a vote of the city council.
Update on Sweetened Beverage Tax in Other Cities/Counties:
- In Cook County, the county government voted to repeal the recently implemented soda tax based on overwhelming feedback from local businesses and residents.
- In Philadelphia, a beverage tax has resulted in lost jobs and lost revenue for store and restaurant owners.
- In Philadelphia and Berkeley, consumption simply increased in nearby communities without sweetened beverage tax.
- In Santa Fe, voters recently overwhelmingly defeated a similar tax.
- In St. Helens, Oregon, the entire City Council unanimously rejected a beverage tax proposal with a 5-0 vote.
This week’s Cook County vote further demonstrates a clear trend across the country of buyers’
remorse in cities and counties that have considered and/or are imposing a tax, particularly in areas
where local governments bypassed a public vote.
Keep Seattle Livable for All is a coalition of small businesses and concerned citizens who were opposed
to the Seattle beverage tax. The coalition remains concerned with the implementation of the Seattle tax,
believes it is regressive and will disproportionately impact local small businesses and minority
communities. The coalition believes imposing another tax on Seattle residents simply adds to the pain of
those already reeling from the city’s skyrocketing cost of living. While the previous administration may
have supported such a measure, the current mayoral candidates have expressed opposition to the tax.
As part of the Seattle Times candidate profiles, when asked if they approve of the new sugary drink tax,
both Seattle Mayoral candidates Jenny Durkan and Cary Moon expressed opposition to the measure.
For more information, and questions, contact Jim Desler (425) 443-0458